"The prize of Costa [for Coca-Cola] lies not in the mature United Kingdom market but in its global potential", said Jonny Forsyth, a Mintel analyst.
Whitbread said it would cut debt and contribute to its pension fund with proceeds from the deal and further expand its hotel chain Premier Inn in Britain and Germany.
In December 2017, USA -activist-investment firm Sachem Head Capital Management disclosed it had built a stake in Whitbread, and the following month Reuters reported that the fund was pushing Ms. Brittain to consider splitting Costa from Premier Inn.
Coca-Cola's big bet on coffee retail makes the beverage giant an immediate competitor to the likes of Starbucks, particularly in Costa's home market of the U.K. Costa operates almost 4,000 coffee shops throughout the world, and it a year ago unveiled a $47 million production roasting headquarters filled with massive Probat systems.
Because Coca-Cola expects the transaction to close in the first half of 2019, there is no change to 2018 guidance.
Analysts cited industry rivals, including Intercontinental Hotels Group, Marriott and Accor, as potential suitors, while some suggested that Premier Inn's £5.4 billion of assets could interest property investors such as Blackstone Group.
For Costa, Hyett said Costa will get "lots of care and attention" from Coca- Cola.
Whitbread Chief Executive Alison Brittain said the price tag represented "a substantial premium" to what would have been created through a demerger.
Bankers from Rothschild advised Coke, while Whitbread used Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.
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