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Activist Elliott now largest shareholder in Whitbread

16 April 2018

Whitbread, which has a market value of £7.2 billion, is under pressure after it emerged that Elliott Advisors, an activist NY hedge fund, now owns a 6 per cent stake.

Elliott Advisors now has over a 6 percent stake in FTSE 100-listed Whitbread, the hedge fund said in a statement on Saturday.

Whitbread PLC is under renewed pressure to break up its coffee shop and hotel businesses, after activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors became the largest shareholder with a 6.0% stake, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

That sparked a near 7% jump in Whitbread's share price on Monday to £41.97, the highest the stock has been in almost a year.

The newswire noted that the Costa Coffee and Premier Inn owner had declined to comment on Elliott's disclosure.

Whitbread's chief executive Alison Brittain (below) said earlier this year: "We remain entirely open-minded about the structure of the business and are fully committed to reviewing it on a regular basis at the board level".

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. The group's shares have lost almost six percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a one-percent dip in the Footsie.

Activist Elliott now largest shareholder in Whitbread