Beverages giant Coca-Cola Co. (KO) said that Larry Tanenbaum O.C. and Junior Bridgeman have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent to acquire the company's Canadian bottling and distribution business, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada or CCRC.
CCRC employs approximately 5,800 associates and operates five production facilities as well as over 50 sales and distribution centres. It conducts business in all 10 provinces and three territories.
The letter of intent or LOI announced today is subject to the parties reaching definitive agreements. Financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of 2018, were not disclosed.
The acquirer of CCRC will be a Canadian-based joint venture between Tanenbaum, a Canadian businessman and philanthropist, and Bridgeman, a former NBA player, entrepreneur and current President and CEO of Kansas City-based Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
Tanenbaum's business, The Kilmer Group, has a longstanding history of building businesses throughout Canada, in areas as diverse as sports and media, and real estate and infrastructure.
Additionally, Tanenbaum serves as chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, Toronto Argonauts and the Air Canada Centre. He is also chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Basketball Association, and serves as a governor of the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.
Junior Bridgeman joined the Coke bottling system in 2017 with the formation of Heartland Coca-Cola, covering territories in Kansas, Missouri and Southern Illinois. Prior to this, Bridgeman created and led one of the largest restaurant franchise operators in the United States, Manna Inc., based in Louisville, Ky. He also had a 12-year career as a professional basketball player in the NBA.
Coca-Cola noted that the non-binding Letter of Intent initiates the final step to complete the refranchising of all of Coca-Cola's company-owned bottling operations in North America. In October 2017, Coca-Cola announced the completion of refranchising in the U.S.(dpa)