Scottish & Newcastle has stayed silent on reports that its CEO has been sounded out about running Mitchells & Butlers.

Speaking to just-drinks today (15 April) a spokesperson for S&N said reports claiming John Dunsmore had been sounded out about running the UK pub group in the event of a merger with Spirit Group were "just speculation".

In February, M&B chief executive Tim Clarke offered to tender his resignation, after the company lost GBP391m (US$776.4m) on a failed property venture with investment firm R20. The M&B board declined the offer, the company said. Finance director Karim Nafah was not so lucky, after the board accepted his resignation.

The collapse of the transaction has triggered a possible takeover battle for M&B, with the company admitting that it has received several "preliminary and tentative expressions of interest".