Coca-Cola is to buy the Costa coffee chain from owner Whitbread in a deal worth £3.9bn.
Whitbread had intended to spin off the chain as a separate firm, but said a straight sale was more profitable.
Chief executive Alison Brittain said Whitbread would now focus on its Premier Inn business in the UK and Germany.
Whitbread bought Costa, which is now the UK's biggest coffee chain, for just £19m in 1995.
At the time, it had just 39 outlets. It now has more than 2,400 UK coffee shops, as well as some 1,400 outlets in 31 overseas markets. Costa Express has 8,237 vending machines worldwide. Whitbread shares were up 16% in Friday afternoon trading.
Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, Ms Brittain explained that Coca-Cola wanted to buy Costa because "they want the coffee product, they have no coffee in their range". She said the money from the sale would be used to expand the Premier Inn chain, return some cash to shareholders, pay down debt and boost the pension fund.