Joe Lewis, the largest shareholder in Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), is reportedly weighing up making another offer for the pub company in the new year because of ongoing “concerns” about its business performance. Under Takeover Panel rules the billionaire will have to wait to mid-April before making another potential approach, after having two indicative offers for the operators of All Bar One and Harvester rejected. Lewis had indicated a possible bid of 230p per share for the group, which would have valued it at around £3bn including debt. The Financial Times quotes a person close to Lewis’s investment vehicle Piedmont, which holds a 22.8% stake in M&B, as saying: “If you look at Marstons, Greene King and other pub companies they are giving cash back … Piedmont is concerned about the value of its stake.” The source added that Piedmont was “waiting and seeing how the situation will develop”. On the back of the pub group’s full year results yesterday, Piedmont is also understood to have raised concerns around the sharp rise in M&B’s non-current liabilities on derivative financial instruments, which hit £235m for the full year to 24 September, up from £149m the previous year. It is also thought have expressed concerns over the pub group’s 0.7% drop in operating margin to 16.3%, the impact of the £37m pension deficit on the company’s net asset value, and the lack of update on when dividends will be resumed. Separately, The Times, reports M&B chairman Bob Ivell has launched a redundancy programme among its 800 head office and support staff in an attempt to change a “culture of bureaucracy”. It said that Ivell had begun a 90-day consultation among all staff that do not work in the Birmingham-based company’s pubs and restaurants in an attempt to “free up the guys who run the business”. Insiders fear there could be as many as 80 to 100 job losses.