Greene King shareholders have approved the sale of the business to a Hong Kong-based real estate company in a deal that gives Britain’s largest brewery and pub group an enterprise value of £4.6b.
Property development and investment company CKA (also known as CK Asset Holdings) will pay £2.7b for the business, based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and take on £1.9b of debt.
The sale will see the business move under CK Bidco, a newly incorporated, wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of CKA, which owns the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers as well as a small portfolio of freehold pubs in the UK, which have been leased to Greene King since 2016.
As news of the deal’s approval broke union Unite threatened industrial action over pay and demanded reassurances over job security.
The union said it would ballot its more than 250 members within the business, after a 2% pay offer for the year 2019/2020 was rejected by members in the brewing and brands department.
Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: “A new senior management team is playing hardball and Unite won’t tolerate this insulting treatment on pay. We expect to start balloting for industrial action by the end of the month.
“We are also seeking further clarity on future job security now that the takeover has been overwhelmingly approved by Greene King shareholders.
“We have had two meetings with management since the takeover was revealed in August, but the information disclosed, so far, is scanty, despite media reports that pub closures could be on the cards.”