Robert Tchenguiz is poised to sign a deal with pub operator Mitchells & Butlers to spin off most of its property assets into a £5bn joint venture. The Observer

Tchenguiz, who owns 16% of the company, has been pressing the pub operator to divide into an ‘op-co/prop-co’ structure.

The deal will allow Mitchells to gear up the balance sheet and return £1.5bn to shareholders via a special dividend. Analysts say that as part of the arrangement, it will agree to top up the company's pension scheme by about £20m to reflect the risks posed by taking on more debt.