Coca-Cola to buy bottling unit

The Coca-Cola Company confirmed Thursday morning that it had agreed to acquire the North American operations of its largest bottler, reversing a 24-year-old strategy of keeping its bottling operations separate from its main soft-drink business.

Under the terms of what the two companies called a “substantially cashless” deal, Coke will take over the North American operations of the bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises. Coca-Cola Enterprises, or C.C.E., would then acquire Coke’s bottling operations in Norway and Sweden, becoming a European-focused producer and distributor of Coke products. It will also have the right to buy Coke’s 83 percent stake in its German bottling operations within 18 months to 36 months after the deal’s closing.

[New York Times]