Whitbread has transformed itself since the late 1990s, divesting all its brewery operations (to what is now AB InBev) in order to specialise in hospitality. It is currently the UK's leading hotel and restaurant group. Hotel chain Premier Inn, with 785 sites and 72,000 rooms, is the local market leader in the budget segment. Though based primarily in the UK, it has begun to establish a presence in selected international markets as well, with Germany its biggest international market. Revenues were just over £2bn in ye 2018. Coffee chain Costa also leads the local market with more than 2,400 outlets in the UK and around 47% of the local market, well ahead of Starbucks in both size and popularity. It also has more than 7,250 Costa Express self-service coffee machines in third-party convenience stores. There are over 1,400 other licensed outlets in 30 international markets, including 450 in China. Global sales were over £1.3bn in ye 2018. Whitbread had announced plans to spin off Costa as a separate company in 2020; however that plan was abandoned in summer 2018 after it received a handsome £3.9bn offer for the business from Coca-Cola. Other UK restaurant brands include Beefeater Grill and Brewers Fayre eateries, mostly alongside Premier Inn locations. Currently those three brands make Whitbread the second largest restaurant group in the UK after McDonald's. Alison Brittain (ex-Lloyds Banking) succeeded Andy Harrison as group chief executive in 2016. Combined revenues for the year ending 2018 were £3.3bn. Numerous other businesses have been sold since the 1990s. Whitbread was originally one of the country's biggest brewers, founded by Samuel Whitbread in the 18th century. The brewery moved into the hospitality industry in the 1980s with various hotel and restaurant acquisitions, as well as health & fitness operator David Lloyd Leisure. The heritage pub business was eventually sold in 2001, followed by the bulk of what had become a large restaurant division that also included TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut UK. Subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
Capsule checked 25th April 2018
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Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Sep 2018: There's a surprising new entrant in the global coffee retail business: Coca-Cola. In a deal that few observers had expected, Coke announced the acquisition of Costa Coffee, the world's third largest coffee retail business overall after Starbucks and McDonald's, but #1 in Europe. At $5.1bn, it will be Coke's biggest ever purchase, and its first move into direct-to-consumer retail. It is also a clear attempt to fend off potential competition from Europe-based investment group JAB Holding, which not only owns the world's most diversified packaged coffee business as well as several retail coffee bar and sandwich chains, but recently completed the takeover of Coke's soft drinks competitor Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Another rival Nestle owns not only the giant Nescafe and Nespresso coffee brands - and now the packaged Starbucks coffee brand as well - but is also a major competitor in soft drinks, primarily through its global bottled water operations. There are several key advantages to the Costa deal: that brand is already the biggest coffee bar chain in the EMEA region, slightly ahead of Starbucks by outlets. It also has an extensive global network of standalone self-serve vending machines located in service stations and grocery stores. In addition, said Coke CEO James Quincey, the deal provides an entry into the hot beverages sector. "Coffee is one of the fastest-growing beverage categories in the world," he told analysts. "It's also a category with many different elements, from vending to coffee shops to roast-and-ground to instant to pods and capsules. Costa is a platform with a great supply chain in coffee, a world-class roastery, a strong retail presence and a vending system... It also has potential for expansion into ready-to-drink coffee across many markets globally." The business is being acquired from hospitality group Whitbread, which had previously announced plans to spin off Costa as a separate company. Following completion, Whitbread's biggest remaining asset will be the budget hotel chain Premier Inn. Analysts predict that a takeover bid could follow from a larger hotel operator, such as InterContinental or Hilton.
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Apr 2018: UK hospitality group Whitbread announced plans to spin off its Costa Coffee chain - the UK's biggest, ahead of Starbucks - as a separate public company within the next two years. The decision follows increasing pressure from activist investors to split Costa from Whitbread's Premier Inn hotel chain and restaurants. For the year to March 2018, group revenues were £3.3bn, with just £2.0bn from hotels and restaurants and £1.3bn from Costa.
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