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US: Coca-Cola Co seals Coca-Cola Enterprises deal

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The Coca-Cola Co has completed its takeover of the North America operations of its major bottler, Coca-Cola Enteprises.

Completion of the deal, announced by Coca-Cola yesterday (3 October), came two days after shareholders in Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) endorsed the move. Coca-Cola said that it expected the takeover to generate "at least" US$350m in annual synergies within four years.

"With the completion of this transaction, we have redefined our operating model to best serve the unique needs of our flagship market, in full alignment with our 2020 Vision," said Coca-Cola's CEO and chairman, Muhtar Kent.

The deal changes the soft drinks landscape in North America following on from PepsiCo's deal to acquire full control of its own major bottlers, PepsiAmericas and Pepsi Bottling Group.

"Our thoughtful and disciplined planning efforts prior to completing the transaction will enable us to execute and quickly drive a seamless integration in North America, delivering enhanced value to our customers, consumers and independent bottling partners," said Kent.

"Through CCE's acquisition of our bottling operations in Norway and Sweden, this transaction also further strengthens our franchise system in Europe by providing broader geographic coverage and optimised marketing and distribution leadership in this key geography," he added.

Following completion of the deal, Coca-Cola has renamed the sales and operational elements of the North American businesses, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA and Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. Coca-Cola North America will focus on franchise business and consumer marketing and innovation.

Coca-Cola said that it remained committed to buying back at least $1.5bn-worth of shares in 2010.

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For the original story on the deal and links to comment and analysis, click here.


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