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UK brewer agrees £2.7bn sale to Hong Kong’s CKA

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UK pub group and brewer Greene King has agreed a £2.7 billion sale to Hong Kong real estate giant CKA.

Shares in the British company surged after it agreed the deal to sell its entire business to CKA Group, the real estate group run by Hong Kong’s richest family.

The Suffolk-based business is the UK’s biggest pub owner, with roughly 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the country.

The deal offered a 51% premium on the value of shares in the brewer, which employs more than 38,000 staff, from Friday August 16.

CKA, which is chaired by Victor Li, the son of Hong Kong’s richest man, has agreed the acquisition through newly formed subsidiary CK Bidco, which is based in the Cayman Islands.

Greene King’s deal comes just seven months after fellow UK pub group Fuller’s sold its brewing business to Japanese firm Asahi.

CKA said it was particularly attracted to Greene King because of its “established position in the UK pub and brewing market, freehold and long leasehold property estate, and resilient financial profile”.

George Magnus, economist and non-executive chairman designate of CK Bidco, said: “CKA’s strategy is to look for businesses with stable and resilient characteristics and strong cash flow generating capabilities.

“The UK pub and brewing sector shares these characteristics and we believe that this sector will continue to be an important part of British culture and the eating and drinking-out market in the long run.

“Greene King, being a leading integrated pub retailer and brewer with strong real estate backing, is well positioned to capture the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, said: “Greene King has a well-invested estate in prime locations, leading brands, a rich history and a talented team of around 38,000 people serving millions of customers across the country every week.

“CKA is an experienced UK investor and shares many of Greene King’s business philosophies.

“They understand the strengths of our business and we welcome their commitment to working with the existing management team, evolving the strategy and investing in the business to ensure its continued long-term growth.”

Shares in the company closed 51% higher at 850p on Monday.

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