Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is reported to be close to selling its 55 franchised pubs. The company has been conducting a sale process through advisor Sapient Corporate Finance. Chief executive Adam Fowle told the Morning Advertiser last year that he hoped the sale might be complete by Christmas. The division has average weekly sales per pub of around £13,500 per week, one of the highest sales figures in the tenanted world. The franchised division was set up in around 2002 and was prevously run by industry veteran Peter Thomas. It is thought that around 20 franchisees have already acquired the freeholds of their pubs after M&B offered them the chance to buy sites in the summer of last year. The group is selling its franchised business to focus on its core growth brands and invited offers for the freeholds from franchisees. Successful franchisee bids for M&B sites are thought to have included Chris Gerrard of Innventive and Jon and Paula Briscoe of ESP8. Gerard, who has had offers accepted for both his pubs — the Rusty Gun, St Ippolyts, Herts, and the Forresters, Church Crookham, Hampshire.