Whitbread £3.9bn sale of Costa to Coca-Cola cleared by EU

Whitbread PLC has received clearance from the European Union under the EC Merger Regulation for The Coca-Cola Company to acquire Costa Limited.

This follows the previously announced clearance from China's State Administration for Market Regulation, received on 29 November 2018.

Completion of the sale is now expected to occur in January 2019, at which point Whitbread expects to receive the full proceeds of £3.9bn in cash.

Whitbread intends to return a significant majority of the net proceeds to shareholders. Following Completion, it will begin a share buyback programme.

The company expects to buy back a maximum of £500m worth of shares as part of this Programme over this period.