Greene King deal approved

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Approved: Greene King shareholders back CKA takeover
Approved: Greene King shareholders back CKA takeover

Related tags: Greene king

The £2.7bn deal for Hong Kong firm CK Asset (CKA) to take over Greene King’s almost 3,000 pubs portfolio has been approved by the pubco and brewer’s shareholders.

Announced last night (9 October), the approval means Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing will become the owner of one of the UK’s largest pub estates.

Some 99.4% of shareholders overwhelmingly backed the takeover bid.

In a statement, Greene King chairman Philip Yea said the board welcomed the approval from shareholders.

The company believed in CKA's long-term vision for Greene King, supported by the pubco's established position in the market.

Opportunity for shareholders

He added: “The offer represents a good opportunity for shareholders to realise value for their investment at an attractive premium, while also ensuring the long-term success of the company.”

Greene King, Britain’s largest pub retailer, was valued at £4.6bn, including net debt.

CKA general manager for corporate business development Gerald Ma said: “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.”

However, the planned deal was met with mixed opinions​ from the trade when it was first announced in August.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Nik Antona outlined his concerns and called for the new owners to safeguard the jobs of those working at Greene King.

He said: “The news that Britain’s largest pub and brewery company has been sold to an international asset company is very concerning for our beer scene.

“We are always wary of one company controlling a large share of the market, which is seldom beneficial for consumers.”

Greene King is over 200 years old

Antona added: “Greene King has been in operation for more than 200 years and it is a very sad day to see such a well-known, historic and respected name exit the brewing and pub business.

“We hope Greene King will continue its operations as normal without any disappointing changes. We will be calling on the new owners to retain the current pub portfolio to safeguard thousands of pubs and jobs across the country.”

On the announcement of the proposed takeover​, Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: “Greene King has a well-invested estate in prime locations, leading brands, a rich history and a talented team of circa 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.”

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