Retailers, consumers and prices
PepsiCo Inc's offers to buy its two bottling affiliates has dragged on and on and could be a distraction for the companies as they begin planning for 2010.
Bill Pecoriello, CEO of ConsumerEdge Research, said he believes PepsiCo would only be willing to raise its offer 10 percent and that would be insufficient to entice Pepsi Bottling Group to the negotiating table.
Pecoriello said the soda saga has dragged on longer than he expected and there's no catalyst in sight to trigger talks.
"The biggest worry is that it becomes a distraction. You get to the point when you have to start planning for 2010 and everyone is in limbo," Pecoriello said.
PepsiCo's strategy could be to let time pass and hope PepsiBottling's shares drift lower -- making the $29.50 per share offer look more enticing. Still, PepsiCo has room to raise its offer and it would be attractive for the soda giant even if it paid in the upper $30-per-share range, Pecoriello said. PepsiCo could afford to pay in the high $20-per-share range for PepsiAmericas.
If PepsiCo walked away from the deal, it would have to invest $400 million to improve the performance of its North American beverage business, he said. Rival Coca-Cola is gaining momentum and could pressure PepsiCo.
PepsiCo has said its offers were "full and fair."
PepsiCo is offering about $6 billion to buy the shares it does not already own in its two largest bottlers, Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas, to cut costs and secure control of its brands as growth switches to new noncarbonated drinks.
Pepsi‘s plan to consolidate its bottling business underlines an industry trend and would give it control of 80 percent of its North America beverage distribution volume.