US beverage giant Coca-Cola announced Thursday plans to acquire the North American operations of its largest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, in a deal worth around 15 billion dollars.
The cashless deal also called for Coca-Cola to sell its own bottling operations in Norway and Sweden. At the close of the agreement, Coca-Cola would have direct control over some 90 percent of total North American volume.
The acquisition of the bottler's North American assets and liabilities would consider Coca-Cola's current 34 percent stake in CCE, valued at 3.4 billion dollars, and assume 8.88 billion of CCE debt.
Concurrently, the deal would see CCE buy Coca-Cola's bottling operations in Sweden and Norway for 822 million dollars, subject to the signing of definitive agreements.
The bottler would have the right to acquire Coca-Cola's 83 percent stake in its German bottling operations 18 to 36 months after closing for fair value.
"This is a truly historic day for the Coca-Cola system," Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent said in a statement.
"Our new North American structure will create an unparalleled combination of businesses, which will serve as our passport to winning in the world's largest nonalcoholic ready-to-drink profit pool."
CCE chairman and CEO John Brock said "these actions strengthen our ability to compete effectively and sustainably in Europe and represent the beginning of an exciting new era of long-term growth for CCE's business and shareowners."