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New Bottler to Join U.S. Coca-Cola System; Three Existing Bottlers Sign Letters of Intent to Expand

ATLANTA, Apr 20, 2016 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Coca-Cola Company today announced continued progress in refranchising its North American bottling operations, with expanded territories for three bottlers and the addition of a new, independent bottler.

The Coca-Cola system’s newest bottler is led by Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman, founder of a Louisville, Ky., company named Manna Inc. Bridgeman is a former NBA player who first established his business interests by purchasing three Wendy’s franchises while he was still playing basketball.

Bridgeman retired from the NBA in 1987 and grew his portfolio of businesses to become one of the largest restaurant franchise operators in the country. Bridgeman is in the process of divesting his restaurant holdings, which include Wendy’s and Chili’s franchises, to focus on his future business in the Coca-Cola system.

Bridgeman has signed a letter of intent to acquire territory from The Coca-Cola Company in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska, including the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City. Bridgeman will also acquire a production facility in Lenexa, Kan. Justin Bridgeman, one of Junior Bridgeman’s sons, will lead the company with his father.

The new bottling company will become just the third new, independent Coca-Cola bottler in recent decades. The others are Great Lakes Coca-Cola Distribution LLC and Coca-Cola Beverages Florida LLC.

Existing Bottlers to Expand

Coca-Cola of Northern New England, which has been part of the Coca-Cola system since 1977, has signed a letter of intent to take on additional territory from The Coca-Cola Company.

Bedford, N.H.-based CCNNE expects to acquire territory throughout New England. The territory covers several major cities, including Boston, Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn. CCNNE will acquire production facilities in Needham Heights, Mass., and Hartford.

Coca-Cola also announced four other new letters of intent:

  • Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc., based in Corinth, Miss., will acquire additional territory in Missouri and Arkansas.
  • Coca-Cola of Durango-Farmington, based in Durango, Colo., plans to acquire territory in Gallup, N.M.
  • Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, based in Tampa, Fla., will acquire production facilities in the Florida cities of Hollywood, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa.
  • Great Lakes Coca-Cola Distribution LLC, based in Rosemont, Ill., will acquire production facilities in Alsip...