The UK tenanted pub business, Punch Pub Company, is expected to seek a stock market flotation in the next three months. In a report in today#;s The Times newspaper, the value of the business could be more than £2 billion (US$2.9 billion), it was estimated.

Punch has close to 4,200 pubs and is in the process of separating itself from its managed pub business Punch Retail.

The Times said that Merrill Lynch has been appointed lead adviser.

"A possible flotation is definitely on the cards. But there are no firm plans or a firm timetable yet," it quoted a spokesman for the company as saying.