Coca-Cola to buy Pernod Ricard's Orangina

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PARIS -- Coca-Cola Co. is bagging an orange for its Christmas stocking with the announcement late Dec. 22 that it will buy Orangina, the sparkling orange drink with the distinctive bulb-shaped bottle, from France's Pernod Ricard.

The deal, which will cost Atlanta-based Coca-Cola $840 million, will bring the soft drink marketer the Orangina brand (including Orangina Plus, Orangina Light and Orangina Rouge), along with three bottling units and the concentrate manufacturing plant in France. Young & Rubicam handles the ad account.

The acquisition gives Coke an additional soft-drink brand that will further its ambition to offer products across the non-alcoholic spectrum. Orangina sells 300 million liters per year and is available in 60 countries. However, its performance outside its domestic market, where it is strong, is relatively lackluster. The brand has made little impact in the U.S., which it entered in 1985. Coke now intends to use its global distribution network to bolster Orangina sales worldwide.

The sale will allow Pernod Ricard to concentrate activities on its core business of wines and spirits. Its brands include Ricard, Aberlour whisky and Jacob's Creek wines, and the company intends to make other acquisitions in this sector. Pernod Ricard bought Orangina's international activities in 1981 from the Beton family and those in France in 1984.

Excluded from the sale are Brut de Pomme apple juice, Ricqles mint drink and Pam Pam fruit juice brands.

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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