February 21, 2014 / 5:51 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Coca-Cola moves toward bottling deals in Chicago, Florida

BOCA RATON, Fla., Feb 21 (Reuters) - 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, Florida.

“The plan is to have the majority of North American territory franchised before we reach 2020,” Kent said at the conference.

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 internal expectations.

On Friday, executives said they planned to invest $400 million in incremental marketing spending to bolster results.

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