Top 50 Indie Applegreen is set to increase its stake in the UK market with the acquisition of a majority stake in motorway service area (MSA) operator Welcome Break, in a 361.8m (£321m) deal.

The deal will make Applegreen one of the big three MSA operators in Britain, and is its largest acquisition to date.

Welcome Break operates 24 MSAs, two trunk road service areas and 29 hotels across 35 locations in the UK, with around 85 million customers per year. It currently employs more than 5,000 people.

Applegreen has award-winning MSAs in Ireland, and has applied to build new MSAs in England.

Applegreen said it had entered into contracts to acquire a 55% holding in Welcome Break. The deal, which constitutes a reverse takeover of the company, will require approval from Applegreen’s shareholders. Trading in Applegreen’s shares will be suspended on the AIM in London and the ESM Market in Dublin with immediate effect, until the admission document is published.