BOCA RATON, Fla. Feb 21 Coca-Cola Co on
Friday announced deals to sell bottling operations in the
greater Chicago and central Florida areas as it slowly undoes
its 2010 purchase of its North American bottler.
The world's biggest soda maker said it signed two letters of
intent with independent bottlers but did not disclose the
financial terms. For the deals to take effect, the parties must
reach definitive agreements this year.
Coke was expected to announce refranchising news ahead of
Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent's presentation on Friday at
the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton,
"The plan is to have the majority of North American
territory franchised before we reach 2020," Kent said at the
Several years ago, Coke and arch rival PepsiCo
bought their North American bottlers to streamline
decision-making and cut costs.
While the two companies traditionally have moved together on
major changes, they currently are out of step. Coke has been
open about its plan to ultimately franchise its North American
bottler, while PepsiCo has not.
In April, Coca-Cola said it had signed letters of intent
with five other U.S. bottlers.
Last year, Coca-Cola's volume and revenue fell short of
On Friday, executives said they planned to invest $400
million in incremental marketing spending to bolster results.