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AKIPRESS.COM - Coca-Cola is buying the Costa coffee brand from British firm Whitbread for 3.9 billion pounds ($5.1 billion) in cash, a deal that will see the soft drinks company plug a big hole in its portfolio, AP reports.
The deal is expected to complete in the first half of 2019.
Adding Costa to its array of brands will give Coca-Cola a presence in one of the few beverage markets it currently doesn’t contend in and could potentially provide stiff competition to the likes of Starbuck’s.
“Costa gives Coca-Cola new capabilities and expertise in coffee, and our system can create opportunities to grow the Costa brand worldwide,” said James Quincey, Coca-Cola President & CEO.
“Hot beverages is one of the few remaining segments of the total beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand.”
Costa has over 2,400 coffee shops in the U.K. and another 1,400 in more than 30 international markets. In the year to March, it made an operating profit of 123 million pounds on sales of 1.29 billion.