Coca-Cola Co u-turn on bottler strategy - report

Coca-Cola Co u-turn on bottler strategy - report

The Coca-Cola Co is in talks to buy the North American operations of its largest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), according to reports.

This story has been updated. Click here for the update.

It is understood the deal, including debt, could have a value of more than US$15bn, said the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the talks last night. The boards of both companies were expected to meet last night, it said.

Representatives for Coca-Cola and CCE could not be immediately reached for comment.

If confirmed, the news represents a significant u-turn in Coca-Cola Co's thinking.

After PepsiCo last year signed a deal to buy out its major bottlers, PepsiAmericas and Pepsi Bottling Group, Coca-Cola Co distanced itself from this approach to consolidation with its own bottlers.

CMO Joe Tripodi told just-drinks that the firm believed strongly that Coca-Cola Co is a business at a local level that is best left in the hands of a local distributor.

"We don't want to be in the business where we're owning and managing the bottlers outright,” he said.