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Letter of Intent signed for refranchising Coca-Cola’s Canadian bottling operations

The Coca-Cola Company is set to complete the refranchising of its bottling operations in North America as a non-binding letter of intent has been signed to acquire its Canadian bottling operations.

The acquirer will be a Canadian-based joint venture between Larry Tanenbaum, a Canadian businessman and philanthropist, and Junior Bridgeman, a former NBA player, and current president and CEO of Kansas City-based Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada (CCRC) employs about 5,800 associates and operates five production facilities as well as over 50 sales and distribution centres.

It carries out business in entire 10 provinces and three territories. 

The non-binding letter of intent initiates the last step to complete the refranchising of all of The Coca-Cola Company’s company-owned bottling operations in North America. 

The company announced the completion of refranchising in the US in October 2017.

The letter of intent is subject to the parties signing definitive agreements. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of this year.

Coca-Cola North America president Jim Dinkins said: “Coca-Cola has been refreshing Canadians for more than 120 years and it was important for us to find the right partners that understand our business and the Canadian market. 

“Junior Bridgeman was a proud customer of The Coca-Cola Company for more than 30 years before investing in our system as a bottler, demonstrating his passion for our business and our brands. When you combine that with Larry Tanenbaum’s successful track record and deep Canadian roots, this is the perfect partnership to continue to build our business in Canada with a highly local approach.”

Tanenbaum said: “As a lifelong fan of Coca-Cola, I am delighted to be joining the Coca-Cola system. I have seen the company evolve over the years and know there is tremendous growth potential for The Coca-Cola Company’s broad range of brands in the Canadian market.

“There is already a strong foundation and I look forward to working alongside Junior to continue to build the business through great brands, strong local execution and exceptional customer service.”