Iranian tycoon Robert Tchen-guiz is believed to have pocketed more than £1.5m after selling a further substantial chunk of his stake in Regent Inns.
Tchenguiz sold just over 1.5m shares in Regent last week - his first disposal since 24 November. His stake in Regent, held through Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, went from 7.616 million shares (6.73% of the company) to 6.020m shares (5.32% of the company).
Tchenguiz built up a stake of just over 10% in Regent in autumn 2004 as the share price fell in the wake of delayed results. The Regent share price has more than doubled since he acquired his stake.
A source close to Tchenguiz described the Regent investment as "passive". On Tchenguiz's original investment, the source said: "The immediate oppor-tunity was more of a trading opportunity in Regent."
Tchenguiz originally bought 10% of Regent Inns after Laurel chairman Chris Hutt and chief executive Julian Sargeson advised him the company's shares were worth buying. Tchenguiz had met Sargeson and Hutt when he unsuccessfully bid for Wizard Inns in the summer of 2004.
The Tchenguiz source told the MA a few months ago: "We identified Regent as a possible investment and wanted people who really understood the business to go around and look at the sites and give us their view about the business and the trading. Because we'd met Chris and Julian in the context of Wizard, we felt they might be good people to go and do that. Any shareholder is happy to see the value of their shares increase."
Tchenguiz bought his stake in Regent Inns in the form of so-called "contracts for difference", a device that shields the buyer's identity. The device has become increasingly popular recently. The MA revealed last week that the Reuben Brothers are believed to hold a 25% stake in Ultimate Leisure in the same form.