Shares in Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) rose 4p yesterday to close on 319.9p on speculation that leading shareholders Joe Lewis, JP McManus and John Magnier were set to join forces with a private equity group to launch a £1.74bn bid for the managed pub operator. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was mentioned as the possible private equity group in the takeover scenario. Lewis currently holds a near 23% stake in M&B, while Magnier and McManus own a 20% stake through their investment vehicle Elpida. The Daily Mail suggests that with little prospect of a dividend in the short-term they have decided to pounce. It is thought that the group will look to break M&B up for its property assets. M&B is currently looking for a new chief executive after the departure of Adam Fowle in March. Jeremy Blood is currently acting as interim chief executive.