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Coke Says Pepsi Refuses Offer to End Mexico Antitrust Dispute

October 28, 2000|From Reuters

Coca-Cola Co. accused archrival PepsiCo Inc. of torpedoing a proposal to resolve an antitrust dispute in Mexico, Coke's largest market outside the United States.

PepsiCo and two independent Mexican bottlers have accused Coca-Cola, the world's No. 1 soft-drink company, of limiting competition in the Mexican market through the use of monopolistic practices, such as exclusivity contracts. The contracts, which are common in the soft-drink industry, usually provide vendors with rebates, discounts and other financial incentives in exchange for agreements to sell only one company's products.

Mexico's anti-monopoly watchdog Federal Competition Commission, which had been negotiating with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola for several months, said that it will launch an official probe into the allegations following the failure to hash out an agreement. Coke holds about a 68% share of the $5-billion carbonated soft-drink market in the Latin American nation.

PepsiCo rejected Coca-Cola's version of events, and said the Purchase, N.Y.-based company had made a counterproposal that had been rejected by Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola shares rose 25 cents to close at $58.94, while PepsiCo rose $1.13 to close at $48.13, both on the NYSE.

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