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China Rejects $2.5 Billion Coca-Cola Deal

The Chinese government has rejected a US$2.5 billion bid by Coca-Cola to purchase the Huiyuan Juice Group, a China-based manufacturer of fruit juices. The Associated Press (AP) reports that China's Commerce Ministry says the decision is an attempt to preserve competition within the Chinese soft-drink market -- which includes carbonated beverages, fruit and vegetable juices, bottled teas, and sports drinks -- and is not aimed at keeping local brands out of foreign hands. Coca-Cola currently has a 16 percent share of China's drink market; the addition of Huiyuan would have raised it to 18 percent. AP says the government's rejection of the deal was the first on anti-monopoly grounds since a new law on the issue took effect last August.

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