Published on Monday, April 16, 2018

Whitbread shares soar as Premier Inn spin-off looks increasingly likely

Shares in Premier Inn owner Whitbread rocketed more than 6% this morning after an activist investor confirmed it had acquired more than a 6% stake, making it the firm's largest shareholder.

Reports have suggested that Elliott Advisors is pressuring Whitbread into splitting its hotel and Costa Coffee businesses to add shareholder value.

US hedge fund Sachem Head, which as a 3.4% stake in Whitbread, has also advised the management to consider breaking up the business, as well as a sale and leaseback of its Premier Inn properties, said the BBC.

Analyst Alpesh Patel told the Today programme Elliott wanted two separate companies so they can value hotels alongside competitors, such as Hilton, and Costa alongside rivals like Greggs.

Whitbread's chief executive Alison Brittain has previously stated that the company is 'entirely open-minded about the structure of the business and are fully committed to reviewing it on a regular basis at the board level'.

Premier Inn announced last year that it was on track to grow its number of hotel rooms from 70,120 to 85,000 by 2020.

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