BRIT pub giant Greene King has been snapped up by an Asian firm in a £4.6 billion deal.
Shares in the Suffolk-based brewery and boozer chain surged on the news it will soon be owned by Hong Kong’s richest family.
The sale to CKA, chaired by Victor Li — son of magnate Li Ka-shing — comes seven months after UK rival Fuller’s sold its brewing arm to a Japanese firm.
Shares in the company, which employs 38,000 people, closed 51 per cent higher yesterday, at 850p. Chief exec Nick Mackenzie said: “CKA shares many of our business philosophies.”
CKA, which was able to capitalise on the weak pound, said it bought the firm because of its “established position in the UK pub and brewing market”.
It is paying £2.7billion for Greene King’s share capital. and will take on its £1.9bn debt.
The company, founded by Benjamin Greene in Bury St Edmonds in 1799, is famed for Abbot Ale, Old Speckled Hen and Greene King IPA.
Nik Antona, of real ale campaign group Camra, said the sale was “concerning” for Britain’s beer scene.
He added: “Greene King has been in operation for over 200 years and it is a very sad day to see such a well-known and historic name exit the business.