Mitchells & Butlers is reported to be building a defence against a possible £4bn takeover.
According to The Times the company is considering revaluing its assets and returning cash to shareholders.
Shareholder returnM&B, which owns brands including All Bar One and Harvester, may lift its net debt from £1.6bn to £2bn, in order to return proceeds to shareholders through a buyback or special dividend.
The company was also said to be considering appointing property consultants to revalue its estate.
Estimates say the revaluation could add £1bn to the £3.5bn value put on its assets in 1999 - the last time M&B's estate was revalued.
Last week MorningAdvertiser.co.uk revealed Iranian property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz was gathering a consortium to prepare a bid.
Rival bidThis week Bob Ivell, executive chairman of Regents Inn, confirmed he has been approached to head up a rival bid for Mitchells & Butlers.
Ivell, who oversees the Australian bar-brand Walkabout and comedy-club chain Jongleurs, told the Morning Advertiser's sister paper M&C Report: "With Tchenguiz's interested it shows there is potential for a deal to take place, and there is a lot of potential in M&B. I can confirm some interested parties have approached me but these talks are at a very early stage at the moment."