Costa Coffee owner Whitbread is to sell the cafe chain to Coca-Cola for £3.9 billion.
Costa has grown from a small company founded in London 47 years ago to the UK’s largest coffee chain.
The brand was launched by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa with a single store in Vauxhall Bridge Road, Victoria, in 1971.
The business was sold to Whitbread for £19 million in 1995, when it had only 39 shops.
Costa grew to become the UK’s largest chain, with 40% of the UK coffee shop market.
It has more than 1,500 branches on high streets, garage forecourts and motorway service stations and a further 900 overseas.
These include more than 300 outlets in 28 cities in China and a branch in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Worldwide sales hit £1 billion in 2013, with a target of £2.5 billion in 2020.
Sales at Costa have been affected by Britain’s high street woes and fell by 2% in the UK in the first quarter of this year.