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.