Robert Tchenguiz’s investment group R20 has been approached by hedge fund Trafalgar Asset Managers about its 23pc stake in pub group Mitchells & Butler. Daily Telegraph

Aaron Brown, one of Mr Tchenguiz’s lieutenants, met executives from Trafalgar last week, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr Brown and Trafalgar are thought to have discussed the possibility of a deal and also the industry dynamics of the pub sector.

Michael Parnes - the son of Anthony Parnes, the stockbroker who was a central figure in the Guinness affair - is understood to have organised and attended the meeting.

Some observers, however, said they would be very surprised to see a deal happen between Tchenguiz and Trafalgar, not least because the hedge fund rarely buys such large stakes in public companies.