Coca-Cola and China Huiyuan Juice Group have re-entered talks for a possible partnership, the South China Morning Post reported, citing an unnamed source. Coke had its earlier, high-profile US$19.65 billion takeover bid for the juice maker rejected by Chinese regulators. While regulators’ reasoning for rejecting the deal was not explicitly stated, many observers believed Beijing was unwilling to let a successful domestic brand come under foreign control. Terms of a possible new deal, said to be at “a preliminary stage” have not been set, but Coke may be looking for a minority stake in Huiyuan. Spokesmen from Coke and Huiyuan declined to comment, but the source indicated that Coke’s interest in the company had been strengthened by its current, lower asset price.
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