Osmond sends in lawyers to deter rival Whitbread bid
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Osmond sends in lawyers to deter rival Whitbread bid

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Luke Johnson and Hugh Osmond, founders of the Pizza Express chain, are rumoured to have become adversaries following Johnson's decision to submit a bid for the Whitbread pub estate. With the deadline for bids arriving today, Punch Taverns boss Osmond has attempted to halt Johnson's bid by sending him a lawyers letter reminding him of a 'non-compete' clause signed two years ago while Johnson was a Punch shareholder. A spokesperson for Punch confirmed that a letter had been sent, but could not comment further as details of the non-compete clause were confidential. However Osmond told today's 'Daily Telegraph': You would have thought this could have been resolved another way. It is kind of unfortunate. There are lots of industries out there he can practice in without there being a conflict. If Johnson withdraws his proposed bid, Punch Taverns is expected to remain one of three frontrunners, alongside Japanese bank Nomura and private equity company, Candover. Final bids are submitted today and Whitbread will announce its decision by the end of March.

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Luke Johnson and Hugh Osmond, founders of the Pizza Express chain, are rumoured to have become adversaries following Johnson's decision to submit a bid for the Whitbread pub estate.
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