Reubens furious as spotlight shone on share deals

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The Independent Online

Marks & Spencer's investigation into who exactly owns its shares has started to irritate some high-profile investors who are furious at the way their dealings have been dragged into the public eye and subsequently reported in the press.

Marks & Spencer's investigation into who exactly owns its shares has started to irritate some high-profile investors who are furious at the way their dealings have been dragged into the public eye and subsequently reported in the press.

Chief among these are the Reuben brothers, the billionaire property entrepreneurs who are also acquaintances of Philip Green, the retail magnate mounting a £8.4bn takeover bid for the retail giant.

The brothers have written a furious letter to M&S objecting in the strongest possible terms to the way their trades have ended up being reported in the press. They accuse M&S of releasing information to the press which they say is "totally unacceptable" and which should not have been authorised.

The letter says: "It has come to our attention that details of our response have been released to the media and are published on the website of the Mail on Sunday. The release of this confidential information is totally unacceptable and we are advised should not have been divulged to third parties."

M&S has been issuing so-called Section 212 notices, which require recipients to divulge their interests in the company's shares. The company said it was obliged to make the results of its 212 inquiries public but the hitherto low-profile Reuben brothers are likely to be even angrier that their letter of complaint is also now on public view.

The brothers made a £437,000 profit on M&S share options that they bought as long ago as March. They still hold options over 600,000 M&S shares.

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