Greene King in £2.7bn Asian takeover

Photo: Greene King

Suffolk-based Greene King, Britain’s largest pub and brewery company, has agreed to a £2.7bn sale to Hong Kong-based conglomerate CK Asset Holdings.

The announcement sent shares in the 220-year-old business soaring 50% today.

Greene King, based in Bury St Edmunds, operates nearly 3,000 pubs, restaurants and hotels, and owns brands including Hungry Horse and Chef & Brewer.

Its favourite beer lines include Greene King IPA, OId Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale.

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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.”

CK Asset Holdings, founded by Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing, said it would not be cutting jobs.

A statement said: “CK greatly values the skills, knowledge and expertise of Greene King’s existing management and employees and therefore does not intend to make material changes with regard to the continued employment of the employees and management of the Greene King Group, including the conditions of employment or the balance of skills and functions of the employees and management.”

“Nor does CK intend to initiate any material headcount reductions within the Greene King organisation as a result of the Acquisition, although it is expected that each of the Greene King non-executive directors will resign as directors of Greene King on or shortly after the effective date.”

The deal needs to be approved by Greene King shareholders. The directors are recommending they vote in favour.