JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has had a swipe at Robert Tchenguiz and Mitchells & Butlers for pursuing an "unproven idea" - the seperation of property and operations at the company.
Martin has also claimed that instability is being caused by the private equity moves to sale and leaseback of freehold property and the boosting of short-term profit before a sale of companies.
"The boost to profits is typically not sustainable, producing predictable results for future acquirers," he said. Martin told the Morning Advertiser: "I think the M&B guys tend to get blown around in the wind a lot by fashions in the City."
Last July, Martin wrote a letter to the Financial Times, which was not published, pointing out that the M&B property move was a leap into the dark. He wrote: "The essence of the Tchenguiz proposals is to release 'value' to shareholders through the disposal and leasing back of freehold properties."
Sales and leasebacks on the proposed scale are a relatively modern phenomena, and it certainly seems true that companies with financial longevity in the retail and licensed trades seem always to have owned the great majority of their freeholds.
Mr Tchenguiz himself, through various corporate vehicles, has acquired a number of companies in the licensed trade and has sold and leased back the relevant freehold properties. "It is very surprising that the financial community, including the City and the financial media, has not examined in detail the performance of these Tchenguiz companies, in order to determine the likely effects on companies of national importance such as those mentioned above. The directors of the companies and banks concerned, as well as the financial community as a whole, will have a lot to answer for in the eyes of the public in the absence of such 'due diligence' if financial turmoil should result in the future."