Coke’s Huiyuan Offer

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On the heels of the Beijing Olympics, Coca-Cola, an official Olympics sponsor, has made a $2.4 billion offer to acquire Huiyuan, China’s biggest fruit juice company. Since the bid was announced last week, the Chinese blogosphere has been buzzing. Critics are angry that one of China’s top brands might fall into the hands of a foreign company. Others are worried this would allow Coca-Cola to establish a monopoly in China’s lucrative beverage market. Coca-Cola says the deal would help strengthen its presence in China. Huiyuan has said the offer is in the best interest of the company, its shareholders and the Chinese economy. Most foreign companies are limited to holding minority stakes in Chinese companies, making this bid—the biggest western acquisition of a Chinese company—incredibly rare. It’s not a done deal however. China’s Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that once Coca-Cola has submitted its application, it would review the bid “based on market economy principles and the law—opposing monopoly, but supporting regular market operation,” according to a Xinhua report. (Click here to read TIME’s recent story on Coca-Cola’s environmental challenges, and how they affect its operations in China).

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