Coca Cola Close to Buying Bottling Operations: Report

Coca-Cola [KO  55.16  0.33  (+0.6%) ] is close to buying most of its largest bottler, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The Journal did not report details of the transaction, but said on its website on Wednesday that the combined equity and assumed debt of the deal would exceed $15 billion.

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If the deal goes through Coke would buy Coca-Cola Enterprises’ [CCE  19.18  -0.09  (-0.47%) ]
North American operations. North American operations accounted for 70 percent of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc’s net operating revenue in 2009, according to the report.

Operations in Europe would remain independent and Coke could put some of its European bottlers into Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, according to the Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.

Neither company immediately returned calls for comment.

Boards of both companies were expected to meet on Wednesday night to approve the transaction, the report said.

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