Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing’s property investment arm has struck a $5.59 billion (£4.6 billion) deal for Britain’s largest pub and brewery company Greene King.
CK Asset Holdings, founded by billionaire Li Ka-shing, will pay $3.28 billion (£2.7 billion) for the brewery company, founded in 1799, and take on its debt, worth an additional $2.31 billion (£1.9 billion).
According to documents filed at the London Stock Exchange, Greene King shareholders will be entitled to receive 850 pence in cash per share.
George Colin Magnus from CK Bidco, a subsidiary of CKA, commented that pubs remain an “important part of British culture” and ticked all the boxes for “businesses with stable and resilient characteristics and strong cash flow generating capabilities.”
Magnus added that the combination of pub retail, brewing and “strong real estate” makes Greene King “well positioned to capture the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Green King was founded in 1799 by 19-year-old Benjamin Greene. The chain is now the country’s leading pub retailer and brewer with over 3,100 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland.
Greene King is listed on the London Stock Exchange and its shares rose over 50% on the news of the deal.
Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, welcomed CK Asset Holdings, which is led by as “an experienced UK investor” that “shares many of Greene King’s business philosophies.”
The Li family restructured its sprawling business empire in 2015, spinning out its property assets into the Hong Kong-listed CK Asset Holdings. Li Ka-Shing, known as “Superman” in Hong Kong’s press for his business acumen, announced he would retire as chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings in May 2018, handing the reins to his son Victor Li. The billionaire, who Forbes estimates has a $27.7 billion fortune, continues to advise the family businesses.
The deal marks the latest big move in the U.K.’s drinks sector following Japan’s Asahi snapping up London brewer Fuller’s beer business for $300 million (£250 million) in January, and Dutch brewery Heineken’s $2.1 billion (£1.8 billion) takeover of pub chain Punch Taverns in 2017.