Worries over the scale of Laurel Pub Company's financial liabilities could lead US private equity firm GI Partners to pull out of the £150m auction. Laurel has about 180 high-street pubs and bars, owning the freehold of around half of them. But its property portfolio is now thought to have declined from about £140m to £120m. GI is also believed to be concerned about a £40m deficit in the Laurel pension fund. And Laurel could face a £5m bill to unwind an interest-rate swap contract with Barclays Capital. The Sunday Telegraph 21/11/04 (Business) page 2