The owner of Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand looks set to be bought up by the European distributors of Coca-Cola in a deal worth nearly $10 billion.
Coca-Cola European Partners has offered to buy the ASX-listed Coca-Cola Amatil - which owns the New Zealand business - for A$12.75 per share valuing the deal at A$9.28 billion ($9.9b).
The offer is a 19 per cent premium to where Coca-Cola Amatil shares were last traded.
In a statement to the ASX Coca-Cola Amatil said it had received the non-binding indicative proposal for all of the shares held by independent shareholders of Amatil pursuant to a scheme of arrangement.
Coca-Cola European Partners will also enter a separate agreement to buy Amatil shares held indirectly by the Coca-Cola Company which has a 31 per cent stake on less favourable terms than those offered to the other shareholders, the statement noted.
According to Bloomberg the cash offer would give Coca-Cola European Partners an even larger international footprint and immediate scale in the Southern hemisphere.
Soft drink bottlers have been under pressure to consolidate amid slowing sales partly caused by the coronavirus pandemic and by consumers moving away from sugary drinks.
Coca-Cola European Partners is the world's largest Coca- Cola bottler by revenue, with 48 production sites in Germany, Spain, Great Britain and elsewhere, according to a fact sheet on its website.
Coca-Cola Amatil is a dominant player in the Asia Pacific region, with 32 production facilities in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, according to its website.
Ilana Atlas, chairwoman of Amatil, said the related party committee - which is made up of Amatil's independent non-executive directors - had considered the proposal and had "unanimously determined that, based on the current price and conditions of the proposal" it was in the best interests of independent shareholders to allow Coca-Cola European Partners to undertake due diligence and further negotiate transaction documentation in order to determine if a binding proposal can be presented to independent shareholders.
If due diligence was complete and other conditions satisfied and an acceptable scheme implementation deed was negotiated Amatil's related party committee and group managing director Alison Watkins intended to recommend the scheme to shareholders.