Mitchells & Butlers has confirmed speculation claiming that a UK billionaire has acquired a major stake in the UK pub company.

Further to a report in the Financial Times earlier today (8 October), Mitchells & Butlers announced this afternoon that Joe Lewis has acquired just under 88m shares in the business.

The resulting percentage of voting rights held is 21.8%.

A spokesman for Joe Lewis said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to make a significant investment in Mitchells & Butlers."

The Financial Times said today that major shareholder Robert Tchenguiz, who holds 29.7% of M&B, has sold 25% of the company to Lewis. The stake was allegedly sold by Kaupthing Bank, which had been holding the stake as collateral against the loan. No sources were cited in the report.

Separately, M&B said today that Aaron Brown and Tim Smalley have stepped down as non-executive directors  with immediate effect.