Coca-Cola just became a retailer

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Coca-Cola just became a retailer

By Louisa Hallett - 08/31/2018
Coca-Cola just became a retailer with the acquisition of another company.

Coca-Cola is stepping into retail territory by buying a company that will give them a global coffee platform with a footprint in more than 30 Countries and potential for future growth.

The company announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Costa Limited, which was founded in London in 1971 and has grown to become a major coffee brand across the world. The acquisition of Costa from parent company Whitbread PLC is valued at $5.1 billion and will give Coca-Cola a strong coffee platform across parts of Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, with the opportunity for additional expansion. Costa operations include nearly 4,000 retail outlets with highly trained baristas, a coffee vending operation, for-home coffee formats and Costa’s roastery.

“Costa gives Coca-Cola new capabilities and expertise in coffee, and our system can create opportunities to grow the Costa brand worldwide,” said Coca-Cola President and Chief Executive Officer James Quincey. “Hot beverages is one of the few segments of the total beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand. Costa gives us access to this market with a strong coffee platform.”

For Coca-Cola, this expected acquisition adds a scalable coffee platform with critical know-how and expertise in a fast-growing, on-trend category. Costa ranks as a leading coffee company in the United Kingdom and has a growing footprint in China, among other markets. The company has a solid presence with Costa Express, which offers barista-quality coffee in a variety of on-the-go locations, including gas stations, movie theaters and travel hubs. 

The Coca-Cola Company will acquire all issued and outstanding shares of Costa Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Whitbread. This subsidiary contains all of the existing operating businesses of Costa. Whitbread will be seeking shareholder approval for the transaction, which is expected to take place by mid-October. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including antitrust approvals in the European Union and China. It is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

Coca-Cola expects the transaction to be slightly accretive in the first full year, not taking into account any impact from purchase accounting.