HK’S RICHEST MAN BUYS UK’S LEADING PUB CHAIN GREENE KING AT 51% PREMIUM
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Hong Kong-based CK Asset Holdings, the flagship company of the city’s richest man Li Ka-shing, will enter UK pub and brewery sector through acquiring British leading brewer and pub owner Greene King.
CK Asset said in a Hong Kong stock exchange announcement that it has reached an agreement to buy Greene King for £2.7 billion (USD3.27b) at a price of £0.85 per share, representing a premium of 51% on market price before announcement.
The company already owns a 2.9 per cent stake in Greene King through a wholly-owned subsidiary, all of which are leased to Greene King.
CK Asset said in the announcement: “The group is a long-term and strategic investor in stable, profitable and cash flow generating businesses that benefit from real estate backing. The company believes that the UK pub and brewing sector shares these characteristics.”
It also said it will also request approval from the London Stock Exchange and other regulators to delist the shares. The deal is subject to shareholders’ approval and other conditions.
Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie said that CK Asset “understands 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.”
The Suffolk-based brewer owns 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the country, making it the UK’s biggest pub owner.
It also owns a number of popular beer brands including IPA, Old Speckled Hen, Abbot and Belhaven.
During a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping 2015, Britain’s then Prime Minister David Cameron took him to a local pub where the two enjoyed a pint of IPA, a Greene King owned brand.
This sparked a wave of interest in IPA beers in China and the pub itself is now a tourist attraction for Chinese tourists.
(the writer can be contacted at: SLawMathews@thewinechronicle.com)
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