Pub operator Whitbread's longstanding counsel Slaughter and May is likely to reap the rewards should speculation that the company will sell off its restaurant chain TGI Friday's to return £350m to shareholders prove true. At the time of print, the group, which also owns Costa Coffee outlets and Premier Travel Inn hotels, confirmed that it had entered talks over the possible sale. If a disposal went forward, it is expected that Whitbread would instruct Slaughters, which has a long history advising the pub operator. In July Slaughters corporate partner David Johnson represented Whitbread on its sale of 239 pubs to Allen & Overy client Mitchells & Butler. In 2005 Whitbread sold its 50 per cent stake of Pizza Hut to the chain's parent, Yum! brands. Again, Slaughters advised Whitbread, with Martin Johnson leading, while Yum! instructed Linklaters.