Coca-Cola has agreed to buy the world’s largest coffee chain Costa Coffee, which has more than 3500 coffee shops around the world. According to reports, the deal will be finalised in the first half of 2019. The company will buy the Costa coffee brand from British firm Whitbread for 3.9 billion pounds ($5.1 billion) in cash. The historic deal will allow Coca-Cola to expand its business in hot beverages as it already owns the Georgia and Gold Peak coffee brands.

Costa is the biggest coffee company in the United Kingdom with over 2,400 coffee shops. It is second most popular in the Chinese market with over 400 coffee shops around the most populous country in the world. Coca-Cola President and CEO James Quincey said the company wants to spend more in the hot beverages segment, adding that Coca-Cola can be a global brand in this category.

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Coca-Cola owns more than 500 brands, including Fanta and last year it generated operating income of $9.7 billion on revenues of $35.4 billion.

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Costa Coffee, which was acquired by British company Whitbread in 1995, was founded in London in 1971 by the brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops.