Shares in Whitbread soared almost 7% after it emerged that an activist investor has built a stake to become the largest shareholder in the company.
Elliott Advisors confirmed at the weekend that it now holds a stake of more than 6% in Whitbread.
According to reports, Elliott Advisors wants Whitbread to be split into its Costa Coffee chain and its Premier Inn business.
A spokeswoman for Whitbread declined to comment.
Whitbread’s shares were up 6.8% at midday to £42.04.
The hedge fund not afraid of a fight
Elliott Advisors is the second activist investor to build a substantial shareholding in Whitbread, which also owns Beefeater and Brewers Fayre brands as well as restaurants Thyme, Bar + Block and Table Table.
US hedge fund Sachem Head has a 3.4% stake in Whitbread and has pressed the management to consider a break up of the business as well as a sale and leaseback of its Premier Inn hotel properties.
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.”