Soft drink giant Coca-Cola Co. announced that it has agreement in place to takeover 54.5% stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, the company’s key African bottling business, from Anheuser-Busch InBev SA for reported $3.15 billion.
In October Coke revealed plan to work out a change-of-control clause for the business, which it plans to refranchise to another ally, after AB InBev got control of the stake when it bought SABMiller PLC.
Meanwhile the Atlanta-based giant wants to keep distance from AB InBev after rumors that it could become an impending buyout target for the beer-maker. AB InBev is also a main bottler of non-alcoholic beverages in Latin America for PepsiCo Inc., Coke’s arch rival.
According to reports for AB InBev, the agreement signifies its latest properties sale since its $100 billion-plus buyout of rival SABMiller, for which it recently won regulatory approval.
Furthermore Coca-Cola Beverages Africa is based in South Africa and has operations, comprising more than 30 bottling factories, in 10 countries across southern and eastern Africa. Coke and South Africa-based Gutsche Family Investments, another longtime bottling partner, own the rest of the business.
Moreover both Coke and InBev also said in a statement that they had reached an agreement for the soft-drinks company to separately purchase the brewer’s interest in bottling operations Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras for an unrevealed amount. The company also plans to refranchise those operations and anticipates both deals with AB InBev to complete by the end of 2017.
Coca-Cola Co CEO Muhtar Kent revealed that the company was in discussing with a number of parties who are involved in the bottling businesses and would seek to refranchise the operations as soon as it is sanctioned by regulators.