The board of British multinational Whitbread have unanimously agreed to a £3.9bn takeover of its Costa Coffee subsidiary by Coca-Cola, as it prioritises growth at its Premier Inn brand in the UK and Germany.
For its part, Coca-Cola is keen to broaden its beverage range from soft drinks to coffee having already introduced a range of Japanese alco-pops.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said she expected Coca-Cola to put its new asset to work straight away by creating a new line in ‘ready to drink cold brew coffees’.
Brittain added: “You could see Costa absolutely everywhere, in vending machines, hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafes - in all the places you see Coke today.”
Since being bought by Whitbread in 1995 for just £19m Costa has grown to become the UK’s largest coffee chain and the second largest internationally behind Starbucks, with 2,400 outlets and a further 1,400 scattered around the world in 31 foreign markets.
Other well known Whitbread brands include Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.
Earlier this summer Nestle laid down £5.2bn to acquire the right to license use of the Starbucks brand.