March 18/Global English -- China's Commerce Ministry rejected Coca-Cola Co.'s $2.5 billion bid to acquire the Chinese Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd, on anti-monopoly grounds, AP reported. The ministry's rejection came despite Coca-Cola's announcement in February that it would spend $2 billion in China over the next three years.
Coca-Cola's offer for Huiyuan, announced September 3, stirred nationalist opposition to the foreign takeover of a major Chinese brand. Huiyuan's founders and major shareholders had endorsed the sale as a way for the firm to boost product development and marketing.
A Coca-Cola spokesman in Hong Kong had no immediate comment, and Huiyuan also did not declare any comments after the Ministry's announcement, according to AP. It is worth mentioning that the Chinese anti-monopoly law forbids mergers that hurt competition, but it leaves regulators wide discretion in deciding how to determine that.
From the March 30, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition