Following considerable speculation, the UK entrepreneur, Hugh Osmond, has launched a £5.5 billion (US$8.66 billion) takeover bid for the pubs and hotels group, Six Continents.

Osmond is offering 36 new shares in his company, Capital Management and Investment, for each share in Six Continents which among other operations owns the Inter-Continental hotels and All Bar One cafe/bars. There is also a cash-and-shares alternative which is worth slightly less than the paper.

Osmond has accused the company of destroying value and is looking to derail the company's own plans to demerge its Inter-Continental and Holiday Inn hotels business and its All Bar One and O'Neill's British pubs chains into two separately listed companies. The Six Continents plan would also return some £700m to shareholders, less than the cash element in the Osmond bid.

"I am sure this will be a long fight but an interesting one," said Osmond. "It is clear that Six Continents has persistently destroyed value over a prolonged period," Osmond said.

Osmond is making his bid conditional on the company delaying a shareholders' meeting planned for 12 March at which its demerger plans would be put to the vote.