Green King buyout: UK’s biggest pub owner to be bought by Hong Kong real estate group CKA

Sale to Hong Kong’s richest family values Greene King at £2.7bn

Henry Saker-Clark
Tuesday 20 August 2019 09:38
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Greene King, Britain’s biggest pub owner, has agreed to sell its entire business to CKA, a real estate group run by Hong Kong’s richest family.

Shares in the pub owner and brewer surged after it announced the £2.7bn deal on Monday afternoon.

The Suffolk-based business owns roughly 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK and employs more than 38,000 staff.

The deal offered a 51 per cent premium on the value of Greene King shares as it last stood on Friday.

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, based in the Cayman Islands.

Greene King’s deal comes just seven months after Fuller’s, a fellow UK pub group, 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.”

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, added: “Greene King has a well-invested estate in prime locations, leading brands, a rich history and a talented team… CKA is an experienced UK investor and shares many of Greene King’s business philosophies.”

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

PA

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