Pubmaster chief executive John Sands hints at flotation and says he would like to run a public company, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

He will be responsible for 3,200 tenanted pubs across the country once he completes the £500m acquisition of Inn Partnerships from Nomura.

Sands says: "The opportunity could occur this year or next", depending on what happens with Punch Pub Company, the rival that is being prime for a float in the early summer.

He will become executive chairman from March and focus on doing more pub deals.

He talks about his disappointment are failing to win Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries last year with its £486m hostile bid.

"I didn't want to end up with the development of the business being stunted by us overpaying," he says.

The Daily Telegraph 26/01/02 page 34