HK’s richest man buys Belhaven owner Greene King

Pub operator Greene King, owner of Belhaven, on Monday agreed to a £2.7 billion cash bid from the Hong Kong-listed company founded by Li Ka-Shing, the territory’s richest man.

The offer from CK Asset values Greene King, which also brews Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, at 850p per share, a premium of about 51% to its Friday’s close of 563p.

Greene King shares jumped 51% to match the bid price at 850p.

Greene King has 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK.

CKA said: “The company believes that the United Kingdom pub and brewing sector shares these characteristics and that pubs will continue to be an important part of British culture and the eating and drinking-out market.”

News of the deal lifted shares in JD Wetherspoon and Marston’s by more than 9%.

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