Will Costa Coffee chain be up for sale soon?

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 | BUSINESS SALE

Whitbread bosses are believed to be contemplating hiving off the Costa Coffee chain in what would essentially represent a break-up of the FTSE 100 quoted business.

According to our city sources, this follows pressure from its biggest shareholder, Elliot Advisers. The shareholder activist group has just announced it now holds a 6 per cent stake in the UK’s largest hospitality company.

The idea that Whitbread should sell off the Costa Coffee, which has over 2400 outlets, has been mooted by investors and analysts for over a year. The simple reason given is that a split business would result in a combined value of around £10 billion, a big increase on the present market cap of £7.2 billion.

However pressure to seriously consider hiving off Costa Coffee really began once hedge fund Sachem Head divulged taking a 3.4 per cent stake in Whitbread a few months back. It signalled its desire for a break-up in December 2017 to the Whitbread management team, led by chief executive Alison Brittain. Whitbread would be left with its Premier Inn brand, with over 750 hotels in the United Kingdom, and the Brewers Fayre and Beefeater restaurant chains.
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Whitbread was originally founded as a brewery 276 years ago by Samuel Whitbread and Godfrey and Thomas Shewell. Its pubs, hotels and coffee shops now record annual revenues in excess of £3 billion with over 50,000 employees.


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