News that the UK’s largest pub and brewery company is on the point of being bought by an operator in Hong Kong for £2.7bn hasn’t gone down well at the Hertfordshire headquarters of the Campaign for Real Ale in St Albans.

Nik Antona, CAMRA’s national chairman said the sale of around 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels in the UK to CK, an international asset company, was “very concerning for our beer scene.

“We are always wary of one company controlling a large share of the market which is seldom beneficial for consumers,” he said.

“Greene King has been in operation for over 200 years and it is a very sad day to see such a well known, historic and respected name exit the brewing and pub business.

“We hope Greene King will continue its operations as normal without any disappointing changes. We will be calling on the new owners to retain the current pub portfolio to safeguard thousands of pubs and jobs across the country.”

According to the BBC, shares in Greene King surged more than 50 per cent after the deal was announced.

Whoever picked up the phone at The Crown in Hazlemere declined to give her name when the BFP called to check how staff morale was holding up behind the bar at the Greene King pub but she didn’t sound fed up. Far from it. She said they were being kept in the picture by head office but she couldn’t comment further.

In a statement issued to the BFP, the takeover company said it had no intention of cutting jobs following the buy out and would continue to support Greene King’s apprenticeship scheme.

The press release stated: “CK greatly values the skills, knowledge and expertise of Greene King’s existing management and employees and therefore does not intend to make material changes.”