Hong Kong group buys UK's largest pub chain

A token of confidence in British pubs

Britain's biggest pub chain Greene King agreed Monday to a multi-billion-pound takeover from Hong Kong property giant CKA Group.

The cash deal, pitched at 850 pence per share, is worth £2.7 billion ($3.3 billion, 3.0 billion euros) or £4.6 billion including debt, Greene King said in a statement.

The announcement, which represents a 51-percent premium to Friday's close, also catapulted shares 51 percent higher to finish at 850 pence -- matching the agreed price.

Greene King, which is listed on the London stock market, has roughly 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels dotted across Britain. It employs more than 38,000 staff.

"Greene King has a well-invested estate in prime locations, leading brands, a rich history and a talented team of around 38,000 people serving millions of customers across the country every week," said Chief Executive Nick Mackenzie in the statement.

He added: "CKA ... understand the strengths of our business and we welcome their commitment to working with the existing management team, evolving the strategy and investing in the business to ensure its continued long-term growth."