Shares in Courtyard soared by 50 per cent to 19.75p on news that Mr Earl had acquired 900,000 shares, a 3.25 per cent stake.
Richard Capper, chairman, said Mr Earl would not play a part in the day- to-day running of the company but was welcomed as a shareholder. "We're very happy to have him along."
Mr Earl received a significant windfall last month when Whitbread acquired the Pelican group, which owns the Cafe Rouge chain, for pounds 133m. Mr Earl controlled a major stake in the company.
Mr Capper's vehicle, Lomand Investment Holdings, took control of Courtyard in June when it acquired a 29.9 per cent stake. Lomand operates the Drum & Monkey bar and bistro chain, which is modelled on City gentlemen's clubs with button-backed leather armchairs. "I think he [Mr Earl] liked what we'd done with the Drum & Monkey and so was interested to get involved," Mr Capper said.
Courtyard's four bars, which include Punters in Lime Street, were loss- making last year.