JD Wetherspoon boss buys £2.5m of shares

Tim Martin takes his holding to 26.6% just weeks after pub chain reveals its tax bill would increase by £50m

Tim Martin, chairman and founder of pub chain JD Wetherspoon, has bought nearly £2.5m-worth of shares in the company. The flamboyant boss bought 657,000 shares for 377p each on Thursday, taking his holding in the group to 26.6%.

It comes just weeks after the business, which has 850 pubs across the country, revealed its tax bill would jump £50m, or 11%, this year owing to the 20% VAT level, new fruit machine levies and late-night taxes.

Martin warned this month the high taxes, which he has been railing against for several years, would slow down the company’s expansion plans.

He said: “We’ve reached a crisis point and unless the issue of taxation in pubs is addressed, it will continue to lead to more pubs shutting and creating further unemployment.”

Closing at 377p on Friday, the shares are currently trading at a three-year low.

But it would seem Martin, worth an estimated £750m, believes there is promise in the business.

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