Coca-Cola Agrees to Buy Unilever’s AdeS Unit for $575 Million

Coca-Cola Co. and bottler Coca-Cola Femsa SAB agreed to buy Unilever’s AdeS soy-based beverage business for about $575 million, expanding the beverage giant’s sales of non-soda drinks and boosting its business in Latin America.

After the takeover is completed, AdeS will become part of the non-carbonated beverage platforms that Coca-Cola Femsa and Coca-Cola share in its franchise territories, the Atlanta- and Mexico City-based companies said in a statement Wednesday.

The acquisition gives Coca-Cola and its largest Latin American bottler a company that had about $284 million in sales last year. AdeS, which sells beverages that are a mix of fruit juice and soy, has a presence in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia.

For Unilever, the sale is its latest move to shed assets in its embattled food business, where growth has slowed in recent years due to a lack of innovation and declining demand, prompting the sale of brands such as Slim-Fast and Ragu. About two-thirds of the company’s food revenue come from mature markets such as the U.S.

Coca-Cola shares were little changed at $44.61 at 9:31 a.m. in New York. The shares had gained 3.8 percent this year through Tuesday.

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