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Great Plains Bottling Co. bought by Coca-Cola

An Oklahoma City-based bottler was purchased for $360 million, according to an announcement made Thursday.
BY JENNIFER PALMER Business Writer Modified: October 28, 2011 at 8:20 am •  Published: October 28, 2011

In a deal to acquire Oklahoma City's Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Co., The Coca-Cola Co. will get one of its top bottlers and the ability to spread its innovative practices throughout the company.

Great Plains got an offer it couldn't refuse: $360 million.

Coca-Cola on Thursday announced the acquisition, which requires regulatory approval and is expected to close by year-end. Great Plains has more than 1,200 workers and operates two production and seven distribution facilities in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

A spokesman for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said he doesn't expect significant changes to the Great Plains workforce in the near future. Bob Browne, chairman and chief executive, will stay on as an independent contractor for a few years, he said.

Browne, whose family has owned the company since 1922, said the timing was good to accept Coca-Cola's offer.

“They were willing to pay a fair price. We decided it was time for us to move on,” he said.

If the deal is approved, Great Plains will become a part of Coca-Cola Refreshments, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Co. Great Plains is the fifth largest independent bottler/distributor of Coca-Cola products in North America and was voted “Bottler of the Year” in 2007 by Beverage World magazine.

“We really feel that Coca-Cola Refreshment can learn a great deal from Great Plains and the success they have created over the years,” said Scott Williamson, a Coca-Cola spokesman.

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