OTTAWA, September 27, 2010 — The Competition Bureau announced today that it has reached an agreement with The Coca-Cola Company to address competition concerns raised by its proposed acquisition of the North American business of its primary bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.
Prior to the proposed acquisition, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. was a publicly-traded entity that produced, marketed and distributed products, primarily for The Coca-Cola Company and Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (Dr Pepper). Following the acquisition, The Coca-Cola Company will continue to provide these services.
The Bureau concluded that the proposed acquisition could have allowed The Coca-Cola Company to gain access to Dr Pepper's marketing plans and other commercially sensitive information, and was, as a result, likely to lessen and/or prevent competition substantially in the supply of soft drinks in Canada.
The Coca-Cola Company has agreed to certain restrictions on the use of, and access to, Dr Pepper's commercially sensitive information, including robust restrictions on access to relevant personnel. Further, Dr Pepper's commercially sensitive information can only be used for the purpose of bottling and distributing Dr Pepper beverages.
The Competition Bureau will appoint an independent monitor to ensure that Coca-Cola complies with the restrictions set forth in the consent agreement. The consent agreement between the Bureau and Coca-Cola will be in effect for 20 years. A copy of the consent agreement will be available on the Competition Tribunal's Web site.
Mergers in Canada are subject to review by the Competition Bureau under the Competition Act to ensure that they will not prevent or lessen competition substantially. The merger review process involves collecting information from, and conducting interviews with, a wide range of industry participants, including the parties, suppliers, competitors, industry associations, customers and industry experts. In this case, the Bureau worked cooperatively with the United States Federal Trade Commission to coordinate parallel reviews of the proposed acquisition and to negotiate mutually acceptable resolutions to this matter.
The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.
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