Punch Taverns chairman Hugh Osmond, who lost out with his £1.6bn bid for Whitbread's pub estate, has vowed to stop Morgan Grenfell Private Equity walking away with the spoils this week.

He said Morgan Grenfell's parent, Deutsche Bank, signed a non-compete clause two years ago as a shareholder in Punch after Osmond bought Allied Domecq's pub estate.

Osmond added: "We will continue to pursue this. They can't just dismiss the clause as unenforceable."

But a Morgan Grenfell source said: "The feeling is that there is not really a case to answer. The worst case scenario is that Osmond gets an injunction ... but that should only delay things a few days."

Sunday Business 18/03/01

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The Mail on Sunday 18/03/01

page 12 (Financial Mail)