The Financial Services Authority is to ask late night operator Ultimate Leisure to explain recent share dealings by director Tim Wynn, and the two brothers of executive chairman Allan Rankin.
North east based Ultimate warned two weeks ago that tough conditions in town centres meant it would not hit City profits forecasts, although it still expects to deliver results slightly ahead of last year.
The warning hit the company share price, which has fallen by about 17 per cent. Shareholders who have seen the value of their stake fall have raised questions about the sale of shares by Mr Wynn, Ultimate's development director, earlier in April.
Further concern has been raised by the revelation that Stephen and John Rankin, who founded Ultimate along with their brother Allan, have significantly reduced their holdings over recent months.
The FSA told the Publican it does not comment on individual cases, but has confirmed that unusual share movements prior to a company announcement likely to affect the price are investigated as a matter of course.
Chief executive Bob Senior i>(pictured) said that neither Wynn nor the Rankins were aware of the warning when the shares were sold. He added that Ultimate has had no contact with the FSA so far, but stressed "investors are fully entitled to ask for explanation about any issue which concerns them, which we're more than happy to provide."
Ultmate's senior team is currently touring key investors to update them in detail on the current trading picture.