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Piedmont’s Possible M&B Offer Is ‘Insulting,’ Cumming Says

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Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Piedmont Inc.’s possible offer to buy Mitchells & Butlers Plc, the U.K. owner of the All Bar One pub chain, for 230 pence ($3.63) a share is “insulting” to shareholders, David Cumming, head of U.K. equities at Standard Life Investments, said today.

“Mitchells & Butlers have lost four chairmen in the last 18 months and it is clear that the influence of Piedmont has impeded the board from acting in the interests of all shareholders,” Cumming said in an e-mailed statement. “Piedmont has now exploited this instability with a wholly unsatisfactory offer for the company.”

Piedmont, which is controlled by U.K. billionaire Joe Lewis and owns 23 percent of Birmingham, England-based Mitchells & Butlers, said yesterday that it was considering an offer for the remainder of the company after a previous proposal of 224 pence a share in cash or stock was dismissed by the U.K. company. Mitchells & Butlers also said yesterday it would reject the possible 230 pence a share offer, because it “significantly” undervalues the company.

“This offer is insulting to all other shareholders,” Cumming said. “The business is worth substantially more than the terms proposed.”

Standard Life Investments holds 0.34 percent in Mitchells & Butlers, according to its statement.

Piedmont wasn’t immediately available for comment, a spokesman said by telephone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at cheatley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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