Coca-Cola Amatil has rejected a near A$8bn bid from fellow Australian beverage group Lion Nathan, following opposition to the deal from The Coca-Cola Company.

Lion Nathan, a subsidiary of Japan's Kirin Holdings, announced today (17 November) that it had entered discussions with Coca-Cola Amatil about a merger, valuing the soft drinks firm at $7.6bn (US$4.9bn).

A deal would create Australia and New Zealand's largest beverage company, and would see Kirin follow in the footsteps of Japanese rival Suntory, which has signed a deal to buy Danone's Frucor drinks business in the region.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) said today that Lion Nathan's proposal has "a number of material deficiencies", however.

It said that The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), which holds a 30% stake in the firm, was against the proposal.

"The CCA board has sought TCCC's view on the proposal and understands that TCCC has responded to Lion Nathan and Kirin that the proposal is not attractive and that a number of other conditions would need to be satisfied for its support."

In particular, the soft drinks group said that Lion Nathan's bid price was "materially below recent multiples paid for domestic and international beverage companies".      

Lion Nathan said a deal could yield between A$100m-$130m in annual cost savings, despite pledging to maintain separate businesses for alcohholic and non-alcoholic drinks.