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Massive U.K. Brewery Sold to Hong Kong’s Richest Family for £4.6 Billion

Because, have you seen the exchange rate?

Greene King IPA in a glass at a Greene King pub, which will sell for £2.7 billion Greene King [Official Photo]

Greene King sells up

Hong Kong’s richest family will buy Greene King’s 2,700 pubs, restaurants, and hotels — as well as its brewery and raft of brands — for £2.7 billion, as well as taking on its debt worth an additional £1.9 billion. The brewery and pub group, which is the U.K.’s largest and owns brands including Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen, employs around 38,000 people at its nearly 3,000 venues. Share prices have already risen by 50 percent, according to the BBC.

The deal is the latest in a string of consolidations in the sector: Fuller’s, the Chiswick-based brewer, sold its beer production operation to Japan’s biggest brewer Asahi for £250 million; Slug and Lettuce operator Stonegate bought Ei Group for £1.3 billion last month. Some of the impetus behind CKA’s deal comes from a perhaps unlikely source: sales of Greene King IPA have been rising on the Chinese mainland in since 2015, after President Xi Jinping sunk a pint with then U.K. prime minister and Brexit referendum instigator David Cameron. [BBC]

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