Coca-Cola Wins U.S. Approval to Buy More of Honest Tea

Coca-Cola Co. received regulatory approval today to buy a larger stake in Honest Tea Inc., according to a notice from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft drink maker, bought 40 percent of Honest Tea in February 2008 and an option to purchase the rest after three years. The regulatory notice means Coca-Cola asked for anti-trust approval to buy a stake worth at least $63.4 million, the filing threshhold.

Bethesda, Maryland-based Honest Tea, which makes organic teas, lemonades and children’s drinks, sold the stake to get capital and access to the world’s largest beverage distribution system.

Scott Williamson, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, didn’t have an immediate comment. Honest Tea Chief Executive Officer Seth Goldman didn’t return an e-mail and phone call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Duane Stanford in Atlanta at dstanford2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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