In a strategic about-face driven by significant changes in consumer tastes, Coca-Cola Company is nearing a deal to buy North American operations of its bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises for about $12-13 billion, including debt, says a media report.
Attributing to people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported that Coke would buy Coca-Cola Enterprises' North American operations.
While the rest of the bottler, which consists of operations in several European countries, would remain independent and acquire Coke bottling operations in Scandinavia and Germany, it added.
The report said the exact terms of the transaction could not be learnt but the deal's value could be about USD 12-13 billion, including equity and assumed debt.
According to industry experts, the deal potentially could mean lower prices for Coke's consumers with some costs of distribution eliminated and a wider variety of drinks, including niche products available in stores as the firm gains greater flexibility, the daily said.
The deal would mark a major change in Coke's strategy pursued for decades setting up large, independent bottlers run separately from Atlanta-based Coke itself.
Coke owns several of its bottlers around the world, also including those in Brazil, India and China.