News Column

Coca-Cola Denies Rumors of Monster Acquisition

May 1, 2012

Tiffany Ray and Leslie Berkman

Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Co. denied rumors Monday it was in talks to acquire Corona-based Monster Beverage Corp. following a news report of discussions between the two companies.

"Coca-Cola has a distribution relationship with Monster in many markets, including the United States," the Atlanta-based beverage company said in a statement. "Therefore, we are always in contact with Monster to maximize the value of our commercial arrangements. At this time, we are not in discussions to acquire the Monster Beverage Corporation. We continue to review the best ways to maximize the value of our relationship."

Monster shares closed at $65 Monday, down 53 cents, after news reports of discussions drove stocks to a high of $83.96 earlier in the day.

Coca-Cola shares closed at $76.32, down 31 cents or 0.4 percent.

The Wall Street Journal had reported the companies were in talks, citing people familiar with the matter. In a subsequent report, the Journal reported Coca-Cola had been in talks to buy Monster but discussions ended when Monster share prices soared. Monster had reached out to potential buyers late last year and again recently, according to the report.

Monster's general counsel, Paul Dechary, declined to comment on the report of at least temporarily quashed acquisition negotiations. "We don't provide comments on these types of issues," he said.

Monster, previously known as Hansen Natural Corp., struck a distribution deal with The Cola-Cola Co. and one of its bottlers, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., in 2008. The deal was expected to help push the company's Monster Energy drink lines into more stores in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

The company canceled deals then with some existing distributors, including Dr Pepper Snapple Group, but maintained an agreement with Anheuser Busch Cos.

Monster Beverage reported $286 million in profits last year, up from $212 million in 2010.



Source: (c)2012 The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.)


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