Marshall Wace Pushes Pub Merger

Mar 31 2008 | 9:01am ET

Marshall Wace isn’t taking no for an answer, as the London-based hedge fund continues to push for a merger between two of the U.K.’s largest pub owners.

The hedge fund, which reportedly believes a link-up between Punch Tavern’s managed pubs business and Mitchells & Butlers could produce some £50 million in synergies, has reduced its 6% stake in Punch and boosted its share of M&B.

On Friday, Punch ended its bid for a 50-50 merger with M&B, but Marshall Wace is thought to think a merger remains possible due to the structure of securitizations at both companies.

Marshall Wace isn’t the only alternatives group with an interest: Private equity firm Permira reportedly made an offer for a minority stake in M&B, offering the troubled pubs group a capital injection.

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