Coca-Cola to refranchise Canadian bottling operations

Canadian Vending
March 12, 2018
By Canadian Vending
Toronto – A Canadian businessman and philanthropist and a former NBA player have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent to acquire the Coca-Cola Company’s Canadian bottling and distribution business, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada.

The acquirer will be a Canadian-based joint venture between Larry Tanenbaum O.C., a prominent Canadian businessman and philanthropist, and Junior Bridgeman, a former NBA player, renowned entrepreneur and current president and chief executive officer of Kansas City-based Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the Coca-Cola Company said in a news release.

Tanenbaum’s company, The Kilmer Group, has built businesses in other areas such as sports and media, real estate and infrastructure. He is chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, chairman of the board of governors of the National Basketball Association, and a governor of the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.

“As a lifelong fan of Coca-Cola, I am delighted to be joining the Coca-Cola system,” Larry Tanenbaum said in a statement. “I have seen the company evolve over the years and know there is tremendous growth potential for The Coca-Cola Company’s broad range of brands in the Canadian market.”

Junior Bridgeman joined the Coke bottling system in 2017 with the formation of Heartland Coca-Cola, covering territories in Kansas, Missouri and Southern Illinois. Prior to this, Junior created and led one of the largest restaurant franchise operators in the United States, Manna Inc., based in Louisville, Ky. He also had a 12-year career as a professional basketball player in the NBA.

Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada (CCRC) employs approximately 5,800 associates and operates five production facilities and over 50 sales and distribution centres. CCRC conducts business in all 10 provinces and three territories.

The Letter of Intent initiates the final step to complete the refranchising of all of The Coca-Cola Company’s company-owned bottling operations in North America, the release said.

The letter is subject to the parties reaching definitive agreements. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

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