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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 February 2008, 14:28 GMT
Punch Taverns 'makes M&B offer'
Drinks being served at All Bar One branch
M&B owns the All Bar One and Harvester chains
Punch Taverns has made an offer to buy troubled pub chain rival Mitchells & Butlers, it has been reported.

Reports in Sunday newspapers did not say how much Punch was willing to pay, but a statement from it could be made as early as Monday morning.

Mitchells & Butlers, owner of the All Bar One chain, is vulnerable to takeover after losing 274m through a collapsed property deal.

Both companies have declined to comment on the press speculation.

However, M&B said last week that it had already received "preliminary and tentative" expressions of interest from a number of suitors.

Other interested parties

In addition to Punch, M&B is said to be attracting a lot of interest from private equity groups Blackstone, Cinven, TPG and CVC.

M&B's largest shareholder, entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz, may also launch a bid for the firm.

He currently has a 23% stake.

A merger of Punch and M&B would create a pub giant worth around 3.7bn, with more than 10,500 outlets.

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