Danone Sells Control of Water Unit to Coke

April 25, 2005

French food company Groupe Danone SA announced Friday that The Coca-Cola Co. will take full control of the joint venture that distributes water brands including Evian, Sparkletts and Dannon in North America.

Under a revised agreement, Coke will buy out Danone's 49 percent interest in the venture, which will continue to distribute Danone's bottled water brands.

Also under the revised agreement, Danone said, Coke will increase advertising spending for the flagship Evian brand by 20 percent over the next five years.

"We reviewed the Evian distribution accord with the objective of stronger advertising and marketing support," Danone's Financial Director Emmanuel Faber said, speaking at the group's annual shareholders' meeting.

Faber would not comment on the price of the transaction.

Source: The Associated Press