Pepsi Acknowledges Filing Coke Complaint
PepsiCo Inc. has acknowledged filing the complaint that prompted a European investigation of charges that Coca-Cola Co. is illegally trying to force competitors out of the market. While Pepsi refrained from beating up on its rival during Coke’s recent contamination scare in Belgium, analysts say the No. 2 soft drink maker is trying to gain a competitive edge by distracting Coke with regulatory and legal challenges. The European Union suspects Coke may have offered rebates to retailers to shut out competition in markets the Atlanta-based company already dominates. The EU confirmed this week that raids were conducted at Coke’s offices in Britain, Austria, Germany and Denmark to seize documents. Coca-Cola officials have denied any wrongdoing. Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi said that it first complained to European regulators about Coke’s business practices last year and formally filed its complaint June 1. On the New York Stock Exchange, Coke closed down 88 cents at $62.25; PepsiCo was off 44 cents at $39.39.