- Coca-Cola Co. has announced that it will acquire Chinese beverage business China Culiangwang Beverages Holdings Ltd for $400.5 million, including debt, pending Chinese antitrust approvals.
- Dr Pepper Snapple Group is also snapping up a $15 million minority stake in Bai Brands after signing a national distribution deal 18 months ago.
- Coca-Cola hasn't attempted any acquisitions of Chinese companies since 2010, when a Chinese antitrust regulator denied its bid for local fruit juice maker Huiyuan. China Culiangwang is its first since that last attempt.
China Culiangwang manufactures green drinks, including those made with red bean, walnut, and oats, and is a part of the multi-grain drinks market Coca-Cola wants to break into. The Chinese company also owns and distributes beverages and food products under the "Cu Liang Wang" brand.
This move should come as no surprise, as Coca-Cola has been shifting some of its focus to juice, water, and other noncarbonated drinks brands as of late. The company said in a statement, "The proposed acquisition is in line with Coca-Cola China's strategy to continue providing a diverse range of beverage products to Chinese consumers with plant-based protein drinks representing a growing beverage category in China."
Regarding Dr Pepper Snapple, since the distribution agreement, Bai has soared in popularity among health food-centric consumers for its coffeefruit-infused Bai5 Antioxidant Infusion drinks. Bai CEO Ben Weiss told BevNET that the company "is forecasting $125 million in sales to its distributors in 2015."
Food Dive has not yet immediately heard back from Dr Pepper Snapple after reaching out for comment.