Greene King agrees to £4.6 billion takeover

The Greene King pub group is to be sold in a takeover deal worth approximately £4.6 billion, reports have revealed.

Chinese investment giant CK Asset Holdings (CKA) has agreed to purchase the organisation, which operates more than 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK.

According to reports, CKA will pay £2.7 billion for Greene King’s hospitality and brewery businesses, as well as take on the organisation’s debt – which currently stands at £1.9 billion.

The Greene King group, founded in 1799, has long been synonymous with the British high street, owning brands such as Hungry Horse and Chef & Brewer.

Its drinks business has also been a staple among pub-goers, including favourites Greene King IPA, OId Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale.

Commenting on the deal, Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie said CKA has ensured the organisation’s “continued long-term growth”.

“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,” he said.

Greene King added that the acquisition would not impact on group and management staff numbers and CKA did not intend to “initiate any material headcount reductions within the Greene King organisation as a result of the acquisition”.

However, business analysts suggest that the deal is likely to be bad news for Greene King’s customers, with pub closures almost inevitable.

Britain’s pubs are closing at an alarming rate, with almost 1,000 pubs shutting annually. The majority of these are attributed to rising cost pressures, including staffing costs, business rates and inflation.

Full details of the takeover can be found here.

The move follows a long line of consolidation in the sector, with Fuller’s recently selling its entire drinks business to Japan brewer Asahi, and Slug and Lettuce owner Stonegate Pub purchasing Enterprise Inns in a deal worth £1.3 billion.