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Piedmont Says It Hasn’t Ruled Out Raising Mitchells Offer

Piedmont Inc., the investment vehicle of Bahamas-based billionaire Joe Lewis, said it hasn’t ruled out increasing its offer price over 230 pence per share for Mitchells & Butlers Plc, the U.K. owner of the All Bar One pub chain.

“Piedmont reserves the right to increase its offer price above 230 pence per Mitchells & Butlers share, were an offer to be made,” the company said in a regulatory statement today. “Piedmont wishes to clarify that it has not stated that it will not increase its offer price over 230 pence.”

Piedmont, which owns 22.8 percent of Birmingham, England based Mitchells & Butlers, said Sept. 12 it was considering an offer to buy the rest of the pub chain at 230 pence per share. Mitchells & Butlers, which closed at 260 pence per share in London trading yesterday, said it would reject such an offer because it “significantly” undervalues the company.

“It’s a derisory offer,” Nigel Parson, an analyst at Evolution Securities who has a ‘buy’ rating on the stock, said in a phone interview. “Piedmont would have to pay in excess of 300 pence per share to value the business properly.”

Piedmont’s possible offer is “insulting,” David Cumming, head of U.K. equities at Standard Life said Sept. 13. “The business is worth substantially more than the terms proposed.” Standard Life holds 0.34 percent in Mitchells & Butlers.

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