DealZone

Bottlers: the choice of a new generation?

February 25, 2010

Over the last few months, as Pepsi worked out its deal to buy its main bottlers, Coca-Cola said it wasn’t interested in such a deal. Well you can’t keep a good idea down and today Coke, which once liked to be known as “the real thing,” unveiled plans to buy the bottler’s North American business.

The deal includes about $3.2 billion in Coke’s equity in CCE and the assumption of nearly $9 billion in debt. PepsiCo is due to close the $7.8 billion purchase of its largest bottlers, Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas, perhaps within the next 24 hours. Coke expects the transactions to add to earnings by 2012. It also expects cost savings of $350 million over four years, with 70 percent of the savings realized by the end of 2012. It expects to take a related one-time charge of $425 million over three years, but will not need to use any additional borrowings.

“Coke couldn’t sit back while Pepsi delivered $600 million (or more) in synergies for reinvestment and then transformed its U.S. business model,” said ConsumerEdge Research analyst Bill Pecoriello, who suggested Coke may not be interested in holding onto the asset for the long haul.

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