Greene King agrees to buy Spirit Pub Company

Greene King pub Image copyright Greene King

Spirit Pub Company, which owns Chef & Brewer, has agreed to a £774m takeover offer from Greene King.

Suffolk-based Greene King has 1,900 pubs and restaurants, including the Hungry Horse and Loch Fyne chains. The combination with Spirit will form a group of 3,000 pubs.

The new offer - a mixture of cash and shares - values Spirit at 115p per share, up from an original offer of 100p that was rejected in September.

The deal requires shareholder approval.

There have been other expressions of interest in Spirit, including from C&C, the owner of the Magners cider brand.

Move to food

Greene King's move is part of its shift into restaurants and pubs that serve food.

Under chief executive Rooney Anand, Greene King - which was formed in 1799 - has been reorganising its pubs estate. In May, it sold 275 tenanted and leased pubs to Hawthorn Leisure.

In July, Greene King announced preliminary annual profits of £105m, down 5% on the previous year.

Restaurants saw a 4.1% rise in profit, while profit growth at pubs was up just 2.2%.

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