Houghton Regis based Whitbread PLC is planning to sell Costa Coffee to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion.
The move was unanimously agreed by the Whitbread Board to be in the best interests of shareholders
It will allow Whitbread to reduce its financial indebtedness and make a contribution to the pension fund, which will both provide room for further expansion of Premier Inn in the UK and Germany
The Transaction is conditional upon agreement by Whitbread’s shareholders and various other approvals, including anti-trust approvals, and is expected to complete in the first half of 2019
Whitbread will now focus on the growth opportunities for its leading hotel business, Premier Inn, in the UK and Germany.
Alison Brittain, Whitbread Chief Executive, said: “This transaction is great news for shareholders as it recognises the strategic value we have developed in the Costa brand and its international growth potential and accelerates the realisation of value for shareholders in cash.
The sale of Costa to Coca-Cola is another landmark in the 276-year history of Whitbread. Whitbread acquired Costa in 1995, for £19 million when it had only 39 shops and successfully grew the business to be the UK’s favourite and largest coffee shop company.
James Quincey, Coca-Cola President & CEO, said: “Costa gives Coca-Cola new capabilities and expertise in coffee, and our system can create opportunities to grow the Costa brand worldwide. Hot beverages is one of the few remaining segments of the total beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand. Costa gives us access to this market through a strong coffee platform. I’d like to welcome the team to Coca-Cola and look forward to working with them.”