• By The Financial District

COCA-COLA AMATIL BACKS EUROPEAN BOTTLER’S TAKEOVER BID

Coca-Cola Amatil said on Friday its independent shareholders voted in favor of Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the European bottling arm of Coca-Cola, acquiring the Australian firm for A$9.93 billion ($7.68 billion), Reuters reported.

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CCEP sweetened its takeover offer in February to A$13.5 per share from A$12.75 after reports that Amatil's major shareholders viewed the earlier offer as too low.


The deal, which would be Australia's biggest this year, will combine two companies that bottle and distribute Coca-Cola drinks, and gives CCEP a platform to consolidate in Asia.


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New Zealand's Overseas Investment Office gave its approval for the deal on Wednesday but it still requires an Australian court's approval, which is scheduled for a hearing next week.


In a stock exchange filing on Friday, Amatil said it expects to pay its shareholders a final dividend of A$0.18 per share at the end of this month.


Amatil's shares are expected to be suspended on the Australia securities exchange at the close of trading on April 21, the company added.



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