Punch pulls out of M&B talks

Punch Taverns has confirmed that it has terminated all discussions regarding any transaction involving FTSE 250 rival Mitchells & Butlers.

Earlier this week, Punch was peeved that M&B had said that it was considering a purchase of Punch’s managed pubs division, Spirit, with assistance from private equity backers. Punch had retorted that it was leading any such proposals and would ultimately decide if they went ahead.

Now Punch has “concluded that pursuing any transaction with Mitchells & Butlers, including any transaction involving Punch’s managed pub business, would not be in the best interests of Punch shareholders at the current time”.

However, under the Takeover Code, Punch has retained the right to look at M&B again within six months, if M&B recommends a proposal from Punch, or a third party makes an offer for M&B. The latter is currently in talks with private equity groups about them taking a stake in the company.

Punch also said it would reconsider its position if M&B made any material purchase or disposal; raised significant capital worth more than 10% of the existing share capital; changed executive directors or saw a material change in its circumstances.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley advised Punch.