Whitbread confirmed that United States activist hedge fund Elliott Capital Advisors now owns a 5.3% interest in the company's shares after transactions last week.
Whitbread to spin off Costa?
Months of research into the pensions and tax implications of such a...
Elliott, which holds a 6 percent stake in the FTSE 100-listed group, is pushing for it to demerge its popular Costa coffee-shop chain from the rest of the business, a source familiar with the fund's thinking told Reuters.
Elliott Advisors buys shares in companies to agitate for change and, it claims, create value for shareholders.
The disclosure came almost three months after Reuters reported that another activist investor, Sachem Head, wanted Whitbread's management to examine a breakup as a way to boost the value of its individual businesses.
Whitbread declined to comment on Elliott's disclosure.
The company has become more streamlined in the past few years, selling off its brewing business and some pubs to focus mainly on Premier Inn, Costa, the Beefeater restaurant brand and the Brewers Fayre pub restaurant chain. As of April 13, the consensus forecast amongst 27 polled investment analysts covering the Costa Coffee and Premier Inn owner advises investors to hold their position in the company.
"It's always been a point of questioning as to 'what's the logic of having these two businesses together?"