HK’S RICHEST MAN PAYS $8.2b FOR UK’S BIGGEST PUB GROUP

In Finance by Clyde Mooney

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Hong Kong’s richest man has clinched a deal to buy Britain’s largest pub and brewery chain for a premium price of $AU8.2 billion.

The original company was founded by Benjamin Greene in 1799. In 1887, under Edward Greene, it merged with Frederick William King’s business to create Greene King.

From here the business grew largely through mergers and acquisitions, buying up pub groups and breweries. In 2015 it completed the £773.6m purchase of Spirit pubs, taking its total number of sites to 3,116 across England, Scotland and Wales, while combining 14 brands, to become the largest managed pub company in the UK.

It now reports annual revenues circa £2.2 billion ($AU3.94bn).

CK Asset Holdings is one of Hong Kong’s most prominent property developers. It was founded by Li Ka-shing, reported to be the island state’s wealthiest individual, who has continued to serve as an advisor since his formal retirement. He still owns around a third of the company.

CK announced Monday it had reached agreement with the listed Greene King to pay 850p ($AU1.52) per share.

This amounts to £4.6 billion ($AU8.2bn), and includes its debt, representing a 51 per cent premium to the company’s Friday closing price.

The Hong Kong company cites its strategy is business with stability and resilience, and ability to generate strong cash flow, offering that the UK pub and brewing sector “shares these characteristics”.