Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz on Thursday moved against short-sellers in UK pub group Mitchells & Butlers, converting a derivatives holding of almost 26% into shares in order to stop it being lent to those betting on price falls. The move is the latest effort by an investor to limit short-selling as tumbling share prices reinforce claims that shorting is partly to blame. Short-selling – a common hedge fund practice – is already in the sights of regulators amid fears that aggressive shorting contributed to the failures of Bear Stearns and Northern Rock. Tchenguiz has ordered his broker not to lend out stock, making it harder for short-sellers who want to borrow M&B shares to sell and buy back more cheaply.
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