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Li Ka-shing’s CK Asset to buy UK pub group Greene King
Hong Kong-based property group to buy beer company in £4.6bn deal
Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s property investment firm has agreed to buy the UK’s Greene King pub group for almost £5bn.
CK Asset Holdings on Monday said it has reached an agreement to buy Greene King for 850p per share, which values the group at £4.6bn including net debt.
The all-cash offer represents a premium of 43 per cent compared to the adjusted three-month volume weighted average price, or 51 per cent compared with Friday’s closing level.
Greene King, which is based in the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds, was founded 220 years ago by Benjamin Greene. It is now known for brews like Abbot Ale, Old Speckled Hen and Greene King IPA.
“[CK Asset’s] strategy is to look for businesses with stable and resilient characteristics and strong cash flow generating capabilities,” said George Colin Magnus, chairman designate of CK Bidco, which is the CK Asset vehicle that has agreed to acquire Greene King.
“The UK pub and brewing sector shares these characteristics and we believe that this sector will continue to be an important part of British culture and the eating and drinking out market in the long run.”
Mr Li is the senior adviser for CK Asset, having announced plans last year to step down as chairman. His family and trust control around a third of CK Asset, which owns a sprawling portfolio of assets from hotels, to utility infrastructure and aircraft leasing.
The 91-year old property tycoon, who is also Hong Kong’s richest man, has racked up paper losses of around $3bn since the end of July as the unrest in the city has hit the value of his holdings.