May 4, 2019 / 10:31 PM / 14 days ago

Elliott wants Whitbread to offload chunks of its property portfolio: Sunday Telegraph

FILE PHOTO: A bed is seen at a Premier Inn hotel in Liverpool, Britain April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo

(Reuters) - Elliott Advisors has become increasingly frustrated with Whitbread Plc’s strategy of owning Premier Inn hotels outright and wants the company to offload chunks of its 5.8 billion pound ($7.64 billion) property portfolio, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

According to the report on Saturday, the activist investor believes Whitbread’s strategy is “depressing” the company’s share price and is leaving it open to a cut-price hostile takeover.

Citing city sources, the newspaper said Elliott wanted Whitbread to sell 10 to 15 percent of its hotel portfolio and “continue to be open minded about the rest”.

The shareholder is also keen for Whitbread to bolster its board with directors having hotel industry experience, the Sunday Telegraph reported, adding that the company was searching for board members with experience of operating hotels in continental Europe.

Last August, Whitbread agreed to sell its almost 4,000 Costa coffee shops to Coca-Cola Co for $5.1 billion after pressure from hedge funds, including activist investor Elliott, which said the coffee chain was held back by being grouped with the Premier Inn hotel chain.

Whitbread and Elliott advisors did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on the report.

($1 = 0.7589 pounds)

Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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