Robert Tchenguiz has converted the majority of his stake in Mitchells & Butlers from derivatives into directly held shares. The property investor now holds almost 26% in the operators of Harvester and Vintage Inns through Violet Capital – a Tchenguiz family trust. Analysts suggested the move was designed to counter short sellers. The majority of the stake held by Tchenguiz had been through so-called contracts-for-difference – the shares were held by investment banks on behalf of the R20 entrepreneur. According to reports part of this share holding had been lent out by the investment banks to third parties betting on price falls – known as short selling. Figures from Data Explorers, which tracks stock lending, show that about 18% of M&B’s shares are out on loan, most likely to short-sellers. The move by Tchenguiz follows a near-40% drop in the M&B share price since the start of June. The shares are currently 196.5p. Violet Capital owns 25.78%.