The Suffolk-based brewer runs approximately 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK, and employs around 38,000 people.
Yesterday (19 August) it was announced that a subsidiary of CK Asset Holdings (CKA) will buy the entirety of Greene King’s shares at 850p per share, valuing the UK business at approximately £4.6bn.
CKA’s global portfolio includes London’s Chelsea Waterfront development and 5 Broadgate, the UK headquarters of Swiss bank UBS. The business is chaired by Victor Li and overseen by his father Li Ka-shing, who was ranked 28th in this year’s Forbes Rich List.
CKA believes it can improve the “sustainability, profitability and competitiveness of Greene King” and is banking on pubs remaining “an important part of British culture and the eating and drinking out market in the long run”.
The deal follows a surge in popularity of Greene King’s India pale ale in China after President Xi Jinping was pictured drinking a pint of the beer with David Cameron on his state visit to the UK in 2015.
It is the second time this year a British brewer has been sold to an Asian buyer following the acquisition of Fuller’s by Japanese drinks giant Asahi in July.
Philip Yea, chairman of Greene King, says the board will “unanimously recommend” the deal to shareholders.
"The Greene King board is confident in the long term prospects of the business but believes this offer represents a good opportunity for shareholders to realise value for their investment at an attractive premium, while also ensuring the future success of Greene King for employees, partners, customers and suppliers,” says Yea.
Greene King's brands include the Loch Fyne seafood restaurant chain and Hungry Horse pubs.