Coca-Cola Co. appears to be readying a bid to acquire soft-drink competitor Dr Pepper Co., a leading industry newsletter reported yesterday.
Beverage Digest said it based its conclusion in part on the "continuing activity by Coke executives at Dr Pepper's Dallas headquarters" and on "widespread and mounting bottler discussions."
The newsletter said both companies had scheduled separate board meetings for today. It also said Dr Pepper's meeting, originally scheduled to be held in Dallas, was moved to New York, where one of Dr Pepper's owners, the investment firm Forstmann Little & Co., is based.
Beverage Digest did not suggest what terms might be included in a Coke proposal to purchase Dr Pepper, the nation's fourth-largest soft-drink concern.
The New York Times, quoting unidentified industry sources, reported yesterday that Dr Pepper's owners were considering selling the company, but offered no specific details. However, the newspaper said PepsiCo Inc., the second-largest soft-drink company behind industry leader Coca-Cola, was among the companies "believed to be interested" in Dr Pepper.
Spokesmen for the three beverage companies declined to comment.
Beverage Digest, based in Greenwich, Conn., estimates that Dr Pepper accounts for 6.9 percent of the domestic soft-drink market. Coca-Cola leads with about 39 percent, followed by PepsiCo with 28 percent.