Coca-Cola set to buy Costa Coffee

7th Sep 2018

Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola announced on 31 August that it is buying Costa Coffee from owner Whitbread for £3.9 billion.

Costa is the UK’s biggest coffee chain, with 2,400 coffee shops. It is also the world’s second largest, with 1,400 further outlets abroad and 8,237 Costa Express vending machines worldwide. 

Whitbread had planned to spin off the chain as a separate firm, but said a straight sale was ultimately more profitable. 

Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said: “The sale of Costa to Coca-Cola is another successful landmark in the 276-year history of Whitbread. Whitbread acquired Costa in 1995 for £19 million when it had only 39 shops and successfully grew the business to be the UK’s favourite and largest coffee shop company. In more recent years, we have been focused on building Costa into a leading multi-channel, international coffee brand. 

Costa’s coffee vending business will enable Coca-Cola to offer more coffee options to customers, including in areas such as food service and convenience retail. 

James Quincey, Coca-Cola President & CEO, commented: “Costa gives Coca-Cola new capabilities and expertise in coffee, and our system can create opportunities to grow the Costa brand worldwide. Hot beverages is one of the few remaining segments of the total beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand. Costa gives us access to this market through a strong coffee platform. I’d like to welcome the team to Coca-Cola and look forward to working with them.” 

The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. 

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