Coca-Cola’s proposed $2.4bn takeover of China Huiyan Juice Group is under threat, according to press reports, after regulators indicated it would have to relinquish the company’s main juice brand following the deal.
The US drinks giant launched its bid for China’s largest fruit juice company last September but the deal could now collapse following suggestions it would have to give up the China Huiyan Juice brand.
According to the Financial Times, the Chinese ministry of commerce does not want the brand rights for Huiyan to fall into foreign hands – although French consumer goods giant Danone holds a 23% stake in the business.
“If Coke can’t own the Huiyuan brand it is difficult to be optimistic about a successful completion of this deal,” an insider told the paper.
Hong Kong-based Huiyan currently holds more than 40% of the Chinese juice market. Its takeover would have represented the largest foreign acquisition to date of a Chinese company.