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The Norwegian Competition Authority has announced today that the Danish Brewer Carlsberg must sell its stake in Coca-Cola Drikker AS in Norway.

The ruling comes in the wake of Carlsberg's plans to merge operations with Pripps Ringes, which was announced earlier this year. Carlsberg was anticipating regulatory problems as Pripps Ringes has ties with PepsiCo.

When the merger was announced in May, the Danish beer company said it was already starting talks with Coke about how to resolve the situation. Carlsberg owns a 51% stake in Coca-Cola Drikker. Coke owns the remaining stock.

The Danish Competition Authority said the failure to divest "would strengthen a significant limitation to competition in the Norwegian soft drink market and would create a situation where Carlsberg could exploit its market position, either alone or together with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo."

The authority added that it had considered whether it would be sufficient for Pripps to withdraw from its deal with Pepsi, but came to the conclusion that it wasn't since Pepsi's "position in the Norwegian soft drinks market would be significantly weakened if it lost distribution through Pripps".


Companies: Carlsberg, PepsiCo

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