英国《金融时报》 Lex专栏 2010-02-26
收购北美业务，应会改善可口可乐的整体架构，改善核心配方持有者和销售者与所有可口可乐碳酸饮料瓶装企业之间的关系。北美地区之所以独特，一是因为其成熟度（碳酸饮料销售停止增长），二是因为可口可乐的软饮料、果汁和矿泉水业务与装瓶商Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE)是独立经营的。并入CCE的装瓶和分销业务，应会节约成本（目标是每年3.5亿美元），提高效益。可口可乐的雄心是到2020年实现总销售额翻一番。
Is red copying blue? Coca-Cola, like PepsiCo last year, is to bring its North America bottling operations in-house. Pitching such a change in strategy after almost 25 years as an evolution would be hard at the best of times, even if it wasn’t following the example of a hated competitor. But timing ultimately does not matter. What is important is that Coke continues to fix its dysfunctional organisation, and appears prepared to do more.
Buying in its North American operations should improve the Coke system as a whole – the relationship between central recipe holder and marketeer, and the collection of companies bottling Coke’s fizzy drinks. The region is unique both because of its maturity (fizzy drink sales are not growing), and because Coke developed its soft drink, juice and fountain businesses separately from bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises. Adding CCE’s bottling and distribution should produce cost savings – $350m annually are targeted – and improve returns as part of Coke’s ambitious plan for doubling system revenues by 2020.
But CCE is getting the better end of the deal. Shareholders will get $10 in cash, plus a new CCE share in exchange for their old one. Assuming a multiple of seven to eight times earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation for the new business, that suggests a price in the $28-$32 per share range, versus the $20 it has traded at for the past month.
Coke, however, raises the contribution of North America from 23 per cent of total sales to about half, diluting its emerging market exposure. The $12.6bn enterprise value it is in effect paying for the business – a combination of surrendering its $3.4bn stake in CCE and assuming net liabilities of $9.2bn – is over eight times ebitda, more than what Pepsi is paying for its bottlers, where the cost-saving opportunity is greater. Improving the system comes at a cost.