Spirit Group is looking to sell around 300 pubs, according to press reports. The Times said over the weekend that the sale is a prelude to the pub operator floating on the stock market some time next year.

The company, which acquires Scottish & Newcastle Retail 12 months ago for £2.5 bln, runs over 2,400 pubs.

The newspaper said that Spirit Group is understood to have appointed Deutsche Bank as adviser to the sales process, but a final decision has yet to be taken on how many pubs will be sold.

A source told the Times: "It is still some way from sending out an information memorandum."