Huiyuan Juice Group has attacked China's Ministry of Commerce for refusing to approve a $2.4bn takeover bid from The Coca-Cola Co.

China's Ministry of Commerce this week used the country's Anti-Monopoly Law to reject the proposed acquisition.

Following the ruling, Huiyuan said in a statement that the decision would have a "negative impact" on competition and would result in less choice for consumers, according to the Agence France Press newswire.

Huiyuan's website, which contains official company statements, has been down for the last two days.

Coca-Cola's bid for Huiyuan, which holds a 40% share of the Chinese juice market, would have constituted one of the largest foreign takeovers in China's history.

Chinese officials denied this week that their decision was protectionist.

"We are disappointed, but we also respect the MOC's decision," said Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola's president and CEO, on Wednesday (18 March). "We put a tremendous effort into providing all the relevant materials to the MOC to ensure that they had all the information available and understood the transaction."