Coca-Cola To Acquire Its Fifth-Largest U.S. Bottler

Coca-Cola has agreed to acquire Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Co., the fifth-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, for $360 million. The agreement follows Coke’s $12.3 billion acquisition of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., its largest bottler in North America, last year. The deal is expected to help Coke streamline operations and reduce its overall costs.

As part of the agreement, Oklahoma City-based Great Plains will become an operating unit within Coca-Cola Refreshments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Coca-Cola. Great Plains’ territories include central and northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, a region whose population exceeds three million people. The bottler operates two production and seven distribution facilities and, as a result of the acquisition, Coke will deepen its footprint in the region and enable the cola giant to deliver its products to consumers more quickly and efficiently.

“Great Plains is an organization that is driven by a commitment to Continuous Customer Service,” Coca-Cola said in a press release. “It has developed many innovative processes that customers consider best in class, including offering a single source of supply and providing outstanding customer service.”

Coca-Cola is not the only company to view bottler acquisitions as a way to consolidate and reduce costs. In 2010, rival Pepsi acquired its two largest bottlers for $7.8 billion.