What’s your over/under on the close date for Coca Cola’s proposed $2.4 billion acquisition of China Huiyuan Juice Ltd?
The deal would allow Coke to control 37% of the Chinese juice market, up from a 28% share today. It involves acquiring a government-designated “nationally famous brand.” 80% of respondents to a recent sina.com survey oppose the deal.
What is more, the Coke deal would be the first to test China’s new antitrust law, the one Beijing enacted last month. Before then, Chinese federal law did not include an overarching antitrust policy, and matters involving antitrust were typically handled ad hoc by agencies more suited to regulating M&A and competition.
China’s new antitrust law isn’t ready for prime time. The Chinese government has not released clarifying implementation rules for example, and the Ministry of Commerce, which will oversee the law, is not yet staffed.
Coke’s CFO Gary Fayard estimated last week that the deal will gain approval in Spring, 2009. I’ll take the over.