Coca-Cola to pay $4.1bn for health-drinks maker

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coca-cola North america Mineral water

Coca-Cola will pay $4.1bn (€3.05bn) to acquire Glacéau and its full
range of health-based water brands, including Vitaminwater.

Coca-Cola said the acquisition gives the company a platform to grow what it calls "active lifestyle beverages", those targeting health-conscious consumers - one of the key areas of growth in the drinks market.

And following the deal, rumours began to swirl that Coca-Cola was interested in buying Highland Spring mineral water in the UK - a move that would hand it one of the top three bottled water brands in a rapidly growing market.

Glacéau is also positioned in key market categories.

It holds a leading position in enhanced water, water, and energy drinks.

These categories are expected to make up a large portion of the beverage industry's volume and gross profit growth in North America through to 2010, Coca-Cola said.

Glacéau will operate as a separate business unit within Coca-Cola's North American operations.

Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola's president and chief operating officer, said the acquisition will also help the company grow such brands worldwide.

"It sharpens even further our existing focus on re-establishing sustainable growth in our home market, strengthening our system, and leveraging acquisition opportunities to gain speed and capabilities in key categories," he said.

"We're committed to winning by reigniting growth in our core business of sparkling beverages while becoming the fastest-growing still beverage company in North America."

Glacéau brands include Vitaminwater, Smartwater, Fruitwater and Vitaminenergy.

Glacéau's top three executives, J. Darius Bikoff, Mike Repole, and Mike Venuti, will continue to lead the business for a minimum of three years.

Other key managers will remain in the business, Coca-Cola said.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the summer of 2007, is subject to regulatory review.

The boards of both companies have approved the transaction.

Coca-Cola is the world's largest beverage company.

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