Mill House Inns, backed by Bank of Scotland, has emerged as a surprise bidder for Whitbread’s 250 Brewers Fayre and Beefeater pub-restaurants. Mitchells & Butlers, Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns and private equity firms were also believed to be among first-round bids, tabled on Friday, in the £430m-£500m auction. The Equity View column, in The Daily Telegraph, expects the outlets to go for nearer £500m than the £430m “conservative” estimate. The newspaper notes the shares are off their peak of £12.94, which was reached in March, and look like a buying opportunity at the current price. The Sunday Telegraph (Business) 25/06/06 page 2, page 9 (Equity View)