UK- CK Asset Holdings, a Hong-Kong based property investment firm has entered into an agreement to acquire UK pub and beer company Greene King for US$3.27 billion (£2.7 billion).
Greene King, Britain’s largest pub retailer and brewer, operates around 2,730 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK and owns beer brands such as Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen.
CK Asset said it believes that pubs “will continue to be an important part of British culture and the eating and drinking out market”.
Founded by Li Ka-shing, CK Assets already owns a small portfolio of freehold pubs, all of which are leased to Greene King. Greene King, which bought Spirit Pub Company for US$936 million (£774 million) in 2015.
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 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.”
Gerald Ma, executive committee member and general manager, corporate business development department of CKA, added: “We have come to know Greene King well as we have been an owner of a portfolio of pubs which have been leased to them since late 2016.
“We share the strategy which Greene King has set out in its recent results announcement, that is to focus efforts on developing the brand, enhancing the service offering, training and retaining talent, executing an active estate management strategy, and all under a prudent financial management policy.”
The deal values Green King at US$5.56 billion (£4.6bn) including net debt, making it the second-biggest UK-inbound deal of the year after Blackstone and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board made a £6bn move for Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments.
The also deal marks the second time this year a major British brewer has been bought by an Asian buyer, afterAsahi Europe secured a deal to acquire the beer, cider, soft drinks and distribution business of Fuller, Smith & Turner for US$302.43m (£250 million).