Coca-Cola seeks 50 percent stake in Japan bottler

TOKYO Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:52am EST

Kikkoman Corp. Chairman Yuzaburo Mogi speaks to Reuters during an interview at the company's office in Tokyo August 20, 2008. REUTERS/Michael Caronna

Kikkoman Corp. Chairman Yuzaburo Mogi speaks to Reuters during an interview at the company's office in Tokyo August 20, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Caronna

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese soy sauce maker Kikkoman Corp (2801.T) said on Monday U.S. drinks maker Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) was seeking a 50 percent stake in an unlisted Kikkoman subsidiary, Tone Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

Coca-Cola aimed to acquire the stake by the end of March and will start talks with Kikkoman, which holds a 50 percent stake, and other shareholders on price, the two companies said in a joint statement.

A Kikkoman spokesman said it has yet to be determined whether or how much of its stake it would sell to Coca-Cola.

Tone Coca-Cola, based in Chiba, on the outskirts of Tokyo, manufactures and sells Coca-Cola brand soft drinks in Chiba and nearby areas outside of Tokyo.

(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Rodney Joyce)

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