Greene King sold to Hong Kong investor for £2.7 billion

Hong Kong’s richest family has secured a deal to buy 220-year-old brewer Greene King for £2.7 billion.

Li Ka-shing has already snapped up Superdrug and Three Mobile along with various British utilities, and now he owns one of the UK’s biggest drinks companies.

His eldest son, Victor Li Tzar Kuoi, is chairman of CKA Group and it will swallow up Greene King when the cash deal goes through.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, said: “Greene King has a well-invested estate in prime locations, leading brands, a rich history and a talented team of around 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.”

Shares in Greene King surged by more than 50% on the back of the news.

But Nik Antona, national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale said the sale of Greene King was “very concerning for our beer scene”.

He added: “We hope that 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.”

It follows news of Asahi’s £250 million takeover of London brewer Fuller’s last year.

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