06 October 2005 – Dominic Walsh and Jenny Davey The Times
David and Simon Reuben, the billionaire private investors, have built minority stakes in the Whitbread and Rank Group in a move that will fuel speculation surrounding both companies.
The Times has learnt that the brothers have built small stakes in both companies through so-called contracts for difference, a technique that allows investors to build holdings in companies without declaring the stakes.
It is understood that the brothers have taken the stakes as investments but have not ruled out becoming involved in a break-up of either company, or both of them.
The Reubens’ interest comes after months of speculation of private equity interest in both companies, although in the case if Rank, most commentators had expected bidders to wait for the group to sell its Deluxe film business, seen as a “poison pill”.
Whitbread’s sale of its Marriott hotels is also seen as having removed a poison pill, sparking interest from several private equity firms. Pemira and CVC have both made enquiries, although the most serious interest is thought to be from Cinven.
Alan Parker, the Whitbread chief executive, is working to persuade investors to back the changes he is making. He recently sacked a swath of head office staff as part of a restructuring involving the merger of the hotel and restaurant boards.
David and Simon Reuben
- Fortune: £2.5 billion
- Position on Sunday Times Rich List: 9th
- Born: Bombay, sons of an Iraqi Jewish textile merchant.
- Their road to riches: made original fortune as aluminium traders in Russia.
Key Property Assets
- Millbank Centre in London
- American Express offices in Buckingham Palace Road
- Connaught House in Berkeley Square
- Lloyds Bank offices in Monaco
- May 2004: teamed up with Multiplex and Westfield to buy Chelsfield for “2.1 billion.
- August 2004: bought the Wellington Pub Company from Sun Capital and Hugh Osmond
- January 2005: joined Tom Hunter, HBOS and Prestbury in sale and leaseback of 135 Travelodges