Blog: Olly WehringCoca-Cola, Huiyuan in fresh juice talks?

Olly Wehring | 23 April 2009

The Coca-Cola Co and Huiyuan Juice Group have held informal talks on a new tie-up between the two companies, according to a report in today's (23 April) Wall Street Journal.

The report comes a month after China's Ministry of Commerce rejected Coca-Cola's $2.4bn buyout bid for Huiyuan, on competition grounds.

Contrary to the report, a source close to the situation has told just-drinks today that the companies have not entered direct talks since the Ministry's ruling.

Despite this, just-drinks understands that the door is not closed on a deal. Investment banking representatives of the two companies in Hong Kong are believed to be eyeing possible ways of securing a future tie-up between the firms.

Ordinarily, Coca-Cola's sheer size and dominance in the global soft drinks market would likely make the firm loathe to agree to a venture in which it would not have a controlling stake.

However, China's potential as a consumer market, coupled with its political landscape, make it an extraordinary proposition for foreign multinationals.

And Hong Kong-based Huiyuan, with its 42% share of China's growing juice market, is a fairly mouthwatering proposition for soft drinks firms.

For now, Coca-Cola appears content to sit tight and build its in-house portfolio in China, but a revival of talks with Huiyuan should not be ruled out.


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