Canada, Mexico Out of Coke Deal
Jul. 26, 2000
TORONTO (AP) _ Coca-Cola Co. has dropped Canada and Mexico from a global deal to acquire the brands of Cadbury Schweppes PLC because of regulatory concerns it would give the U.S. beverage giant too much market clout.
``In respect of competition concerns by regulatory authorities in both countries, the two companies agreed to put uncertainty behind them and forgo this aspect of the transaction,'' the companies said in a joint statement Wednesday.
Under the 1998 deal, which has been revised due to opposition in some European Union countries, Coca-Cola is paying Cadbury Schweppes just over $1 billion for its brands in more than 160 countries.
Opposition in Canada came from bottlers that distribute Pepsi, Crush, Canada Dry, Schweppes and Dr. Pepper brands. A group representing 1,800 independent hotels and restaurants also called for federal regulators to reject the plan, which it said would bring higher prices and reduced choices for consumers.
``We've said we're committed to playing by the house rules wherever we do business,'' said Doug Daft, chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola Co., the world's biggest beverage company, based in Atlanta. ``The authorities in both countries have made their concerns clear and we are simply respecting those concerns.''
Coca-Cola spokesman Robert Baskin said Wednesday the global deal with Cadbury Schweppes was ``substantially complete.'' He said Coca-Cola will focus on existing local business opportunities in Canada and Mexico.
In February, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. announced plans to spend $100 million to build a new plant in Brampton, Ontario, just west of Toronto. The new plant was expected to employ about 550 people in taking over the work at two existing plants in Guelph, Ontario, and Toronto that will be closed.