The rich friends who own a majority of pubs group Mitchells & Butlers are tightening their grip on the business without having to launch a takeover offer.

The owner of chains including Harvester, O’Neill’s and All Bar One said it plans to raise £350m with a fully underwritten share issue. The company priced its open offer at a 210p per share, a 36 per cent discount to Friday’s closing price.

The proposed open offer has support of the so-called “Sandy Lane set”, who hold 55 per cent of the equity — currency trader Joe Lewis’s Piedmont group, Derrick Smith’s Smoothfield and Elpida, the investment vehicle of horseracing magnates John Magnier and JP McManus.

The investors have consolidated their holdings under a newly incorporated vehicle, Odyzean, “to help address the significant capital needs . . . and provide a clear and consistent framework for their future relationship with the company,” M&B said. Odyzean is “fully supportive” of M&B management but wants to “streamline” decision making, which “may result in a reduced level of independent non-executive representation in the future,” the company added.

Odyzean has been excused by the Takeover Panel from the rule that concert parties carrying 30 per cent or more of the voting rights of a company have to make a mandatory bid, said M&B.

In 2010 the Panel found no evidence to support allegations M&B’s main shareholders were working as a concert party in support of Lewis’s attempted boardroom coup. More than a year later Smoothfield and Elpida confirmed they were working together.

Ladbrokes owner Entain is offering A$3bn for Tabcorp’s wagering and media arm, the Australian Business Review reported. Tabcorp said on February 2 that a number of proposals for the wagering and media operations had been received.

Rolls-Royce said it has appointed Panos Kakoullis as chief financial officer, succeeding Stephen Daintith who resigned last year. Kakoullis was until 2019 global head of Deloitte's Audit and Assurance Practice.

Agricultural supplies group Wynnstay said its chairman of eight years Jim McCarthy is stepping down. He will be succeeded by non-executive director Steve Ellwood, formerly head of agriculture at HSBC, from March 23.

Apple approached Japan’s Nissan in recent months about a tie-up for its secretive autonomous car project, but talks are no longer active, according to people briefed on the matter. Apple also recently halted talks with South Korea’s Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia, underscoring the challenges of finding an automotive partner for its car efforts, known as Project Titan.

LVMH founder Bernard Arnault and former UniCredit chief Jean Pierre Mustier are creating a special purpose acquisition vehicle to invest in European financial companies. The Spac will look to raise in the low hundreds of millions of euros and JPMorgan is said to be advising, according to a person familiar with the matter. It will be co-run by former Bank of America dealmaker Diego De Giorgi, Mustier said in an interview.

One of Australia’s largest media groups has called on the country’s MPs to ignore threats by Google to shut its search engine and urged them to legislate a code aimed at forcing Big Tech to pay for news. Nine Entertainment, owner of the 190-year-old Sydney Morning Herald, also dismissed efforts by Google to persuade lawmakers to water down the proposed media bargaining rules after it struck a flurry of commercial deals with small Australian publishers. Australian MPs began debating legislation to enact the code on Monday.

Karen Ward The consensus is wrong on European stocks, says the chief market strategist for Emea at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Pilita Clark A new study suggests homeworking is here to stay but that a “discrimination crisis” could follow if people are allowed to work from home as often as they please.

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