| HBS Case Collection
(Revised August 2012)
Coca-Cola in 2011: In Search of a New Model
Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, faced a critical decision in 2011 after closing a $12 billion deal to buy its troubled North America bottling operations from its biggest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises. The decision was prompted by several changes in the U.S. market, including the bottler's inability to make crucial investments, the growth of alternative, non-sparkling drinks, and the growing power of national accounts, such as Wal-Mart. Now that Coke owned most of its North American bottling network, Kent had to decide whether keeping the labor and capital-intensive side of the bottling business was in Coke's long-term strategic interest. If not, should he re-franchise the bottling business, again, as Coke had done in the past? Or was there a third path? For one of the most successful companies in the world over the last 100 years, Kent's answers to these questions had the potential to redefine Coke's business model for the next century.
Keywords: competitive strategy;
mergers and acquisitions;
Food and Beverage Industry;