The European Commission (EC) has announced its approval under Article 6(1)(b) of the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Coca- Cola European Partners Plc. (‘CCEP’) of the UK by The Coca-Cola Company (‘TCCC’) of the US and Cobega, S.A. of Spain.
TCCC is a brand owner, trademark licensor and producer of soft drink concentrates, syrups, fountain soft drink syrup and finished beverages. It sells its products to bottlers. Cobega is active in bottling and distributing beverages. CCEP will bring together four existing Coca-Cola bottlers active in Germany, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Iceland. TCCC already controls one of the four bottlers, Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke AG. Cobega already controls two of the bottlers, Coca-Cola Iberian Partners S.A. and Vífilfell.
EC concluded that the proposed acquisition raises no competition concerns, as the activities of the bottlers do not overlap geographically and customers currently using the Coca-Cola bottlers would continue to have sufficient alternative choices.
After the combination the Coca-Cola Enterprises will hold a 48% stake in the new bottling company, Coca- Cola Iberian Partners will own 34%, and The Coca-Cola Company will hold the remaining 18%. TCCC is expected to enter into a 10 year bottling agreement with the merged entity, with the option to renew for a subsequent 10 years.
(Source: European Commission: Press release dated November 9, 2015))