Shares in pubs groups were down on Friday. Mitchells & Butlers slipped nearly 6p on Friday to 183.75p despite UBS analyst Simon French upgrading the stock to “buy” and Irish tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier raising their stake to 9.1% through their Elpida investment vehicle. Their move followed the decision by Robert Tchenguiz earlier in the month to convert most of his M&B derivatives into a 25.8% equity holding, fuelling speculation that he could be looking to mount a bid. Punch Taverns, meanwhile, was the worst performer on the mid-cap index, plunging 28p, or 11.1%, to 225p over fears that high levels of debt put it at risk of breaching banking covenants. Enterprise Inns was the biggest blue-chip faller, sliding 28.5p to 302.5p while JD Wetherspoon shares were down 7.2% at 176.25p ahead of a trading statement on Wednesday which is expected to show the effects of food cost inflation. The Daily Telegraph 12/07/08 page 35 (BusinessNews) Financial Times 12/07/08 page 26 (Markets) The Independent 12/07/08 (Shares and Markets) page 52 The Times 12/07/08 page 67 (Markets)