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Coke looking into purchase of Snapple

/ Source: The Associated Press

The Coca-Cola Co. is exploring whether to buy Cadbury Schweppes PLC’s Snapple iced tea brand or build its own tea brand, a spokesman said Wednesday.

“We’re always looking at whether to build or buy,” spokesman Dana Bolden said, confirming a comment by Chief Executive Neville Isdell to a reporter during a social economic conference in Geneva.

Bolden declined to say if Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has approached some private equity funds that have reportedly been involved in bidding for Cadbury’s U.S. drinks business, which includes the Snapple brand.

Cadbury Schweppes, which is based in Britain, said in March that it planned to split itself in two, separating its confectionery and soft drinks businesses, as it apparently bowed to pressure from investors led by U.S. billionaire Nelson Peltz.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage maker, has been working to expand its non-carbonated beverage portfolio, as more customers migrate to buying juice, tea and bottled water.

Last month, it completed its $4.1 billion purchase of Glaceau, maker of Vitaminwater. Glaceau, also known as Energy Brands, was Coke’s largest acquisition ever.