Coffee Nation, which operates self-service coffee machines in c-stores and forecourts, has been acquired by Costa Coffee owner Whitbread for £59.5m.

Whitbread said it would use Coffee Nation as a vehicle to launch Costa Express Costa Coffee's first move into self-serve coffee bars. It is planning 3,000 Express machines across the UK over the next five years. Coffee Nation operates about 900 machines.

"This acquisition provides an exciting launch pad and an additional growth lever for the Costa brand," said Whitbread chairman Andy Harrison.