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French To Review Pepsi Protest Of Coke's Bid For Soft Drink Firm

PARIS: French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn is due to decide before Dec. 15 whether Coca-Cola can acquire French soft drink manufacturer Orangina from beverage group Pernod-Ricard, a Coca-Cola source said. Representatives of Coca-Cola, Orangina, Pernod-Ricard, and plaintiff Pepsi-Cola met Sept. 28 with France's competition watchdog for closed hearings on the case. France's competition watchdog, known as the Conseil de la Concurrence, will advise Strauss-Kahn on the case "within the next two weeks," but will not make any decision itself, the Coca-Cola source added. In a document signed earlier this year, the Coca-Cola Co. told Orangina it would keep all 650 employees for a period of two years if it succeeds in acquiring the company.

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