Shares of Whitbread Plc, the operator of Costa Coffee shops and Premier Inn hotels, rose the most in nine years after activist investor Elliott Management Corp. disclosed a 6 percent stake, making it the company’s largest shareholder.
Elliott Advisors U.K. Ltd., a London-based affiliate of billionaire Paul Singer’s investment firm, said on Saturday that it owned the Whitbread stake. Elliott joined the shareholder roster after another activist fund, Sachem Head, disclosed a 3.4 percent stake last year and was reported in February to be seeking a breakup of the company.
The stock rose as much as 8.6 percent to 4,273 pence on Monday, the steepest intraday gain since 2009. While Elliott didn’t disclose its intentions in its statement, the hedge fund has presented Whitbread management with a plan to split its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee divisions, the Financial Times reported.
During Chief Executive Officer Alison Brittain’s more than two years at the helm, the Dunstable, England-based company has sought to simplify its operations by shrinking or exiting ventures in India, Thailand and Singapore while focusing on fast-growing markets such as China. Brittain has so far resisted calls to split the company.