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Australian Coke deal goes flat

COCA-COLA Amatil Ltd, Australia's biggest soft-drink maker, said that Lion Nathan Ltd's A$7.3 billion (US$4.8 billion) takeover proposal has been rejected by the company's biggest shareholder.

Coca-Cola Co, which owns 30 percent of the Australian company, wrote to Lion shareholder Kirin Holdings Co and ended talks regarding a transaction, Sydney-based Amatil said in a statement e-mailed out yesterday.

The company's board "takes the existence of this letter as bringing the proposal to an end," Amatil said.

Lion Nathan, Australia's second-largest brewer, would have tripled sales and overtaken Foster's Group Ltd as the nation's biggest drinks group if the takeover had been successful, according to Bloomberg News.

The Sydney-based company, with 46 percent owned by Kirin, wanted to add sodas such as Sprite and Powerade to its range of beverages.

In November, it offered Coca-Cola Amatil investors A$6.15 in cash and 0.469 Lion Nathan shares for each share they own, valuing the company's stock at A$9.99 apiece.

Amatil shares fell 1.5 percent to A$9.35 last Friday.


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