Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Ramp up Tuesday

Many market participants this morning have been focussing on FTSE 250-listed online retailer Ocado, which saw its shares leap almost 20pc. I'm not commenting on that tale here but people who know me well know what I think of the jackanory.

I'm more interested in the fact two of Mitchells & Butlers largest shareholders have been quietly upping their stakes in the pub company despite the fact the shares last year performed terribly.

In case you missed yesterday's announcements, Elpida - JP McManus and John Magnier's investment outfit - said it now owns over 23pc of Mitchells & Butlers while Smoothfield (Derrick Smith's vehicle) said it has over 4pc of the pub company. JP McManus, John Magnier and Derrick Smith are all part of the so-called Sandy Lane set of horse racing tycoons.

And here are links to the respective announcements:

http://www.investegate.co.uk/mitchells---38--butlers--mab-/rns/holding-s--in-company/201601181500032116M/

http://www.investegate.co.uk/mitchells---38--butlers--mab-/rns/holding-s--in-company/201601181500032119M/

Regular readers of this blog are well aware that Mitchells & Butlers is in the process of carrying out a review of assets - http://betaville123.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/mitchells-butlers-said-to-be-carrying.html.

The company is also scheduled to release a trading statement on January 28.

I wonder whether the recent stake building is connected to the above? Or perhaps the canny investors believe the shares are just "undervalued"? I'm sure the market will find out soon enough...

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