According to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s sister title M&C Report, M&B moved ahead of private equity competition with a bid of c£265m.
The Alistair Darby-led operator is believed to have beaten off competition from Starwood Capital and Colony Capital to acquire c175 of Orchid’s best performing sites.
In a statement released this morning, M&B said it “notes the recent press speculation regarding the Orchid Group”.
“Mitchells & Butlers confirms that it has entered into exclusive discussions regarding the potential acquisition of the majority of the Orchid estate.
“Discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty that a transaction will be concluded.
“A further announcement will be made in due course as appropriate.”
It is understood that the remaining c60 sites will be placed in administration with Ernst & Young, while M&B will dispense with Orchid’s head office led by Rufus Hall in St Albans, saving c£8m.
Last Friday, Greene King announced it had pulled out of the sale process for Orchid, saying the transaction did not meet its "strict acquisition criteria”.