This is interesting. Could he be the first major investor to go broke in this deflation of the asset bubble?
Demands for the recall of loans from crisis-stricken Icelandic bank Kaupthing have forced property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz to sell major stakes in J Sainsbury and Mitchells & Butlers, Britain\’s largest pub operator, realising estimated losses running to more than £800m.
Tchenguiz lieutenants Aaron Brown and Tim Smalley were immediately removed from the board of M&B, underlining the property investor\’s evaporating influence. Brown also left the board of SCI Entertainment, the video games group behind the Lara Croft series, in a move expected to presage an imminent disposal of some or all of Tchenguiz\’s 22% in that business. He may also review a 3% holding in Whitbread, the company behind the Premier Inns and Costa Coffee chains.
Some 172m shares in J Sainsbury are believed to have been placed yesterday at 250p each, less than half the price at which Tchenguiz bought much of his holding last year in the midst of two failed takeover approaches for the supermarket group – approaches he did much to encourage.
Essentially he\’s been running a highly geared play on UK commercial property. Given that both gearing and property are screwed right now how well is he going to come out of this?