From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Deal Would Give Coke Bottler 55% of Market: Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coke’s largest bottler, said it plans to acquire Johnston Coca-Cola Bottling Group Inc. in a $439-million stock deal that would put about 55% of the domestic Coke bottling system under one organization. Johnston, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., is the largest independent Coke bottler. It bottles and distributes Coke products in 10 states and is responsible for about 11% of Coke products sold in cans and bottles. CCE, 49% owned by the Coca-Cola Co., is the biggest bottler overall with 43% of Coke volume.