ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Co. on Jan. 3 completed the $4.9 billion acquisition of Costa Ltd. from Whitbread P.L.C., setting the stage for the Atlanta-based beverage company to significantly expand its footprint in the global coffee category. The transaction’s closing comes on the heels of regulatory approval from authorities in the European Union and China.
“We see great opportunities for value creation through the combination of Costa’s capabilities and Coca-Cola’s marketing expertise and global reach,” said James Robert B. Quincey, chief executive officer of Coca-Cola. “Our vision is to use the strong Costa platform to expand our portfolio in the growing coffee category.”
London-based Costa does business throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. The company operates approximately 4,000 retail outlets, has a coffee vending format and operates a coffee roastery.
Coca-Cola owns the Georgia coffee brand, which is sold in Japan, and it offers other coffee products in other countries. The company said the acquisition of Costa will give it a scalable coffee platform and expertise in the coffee supply chain.
In an interview on CNBC late last year, Mr. Quincey said Coca-Cola acquired Costa in part because it sees the multiple formats of Costa and envisions several ways in which they may play and fit into the Coke system.
“Yes, there are some stores that build experience, but the way that they have developed the business to be able to be within someone else’s business, combined with our huge strength as being a cold beverage partner, we can now be a hot beverage partner as well,” Mr. Quincey noted during the CNBC interview.