The European Commission is unlikely to investigate Coca-Cola's planned acquisition of part of the soft drinks division of Cadbury Schweppes, the British chocolate-to-drinks group and anti-trust lawyers have confirmed. The deal, reported to have been carefully primed by competition lawyers, does not appear to meet EU Merger Regulation turnover thresholds which spark off a compulsory notification and possible probe by the Commission. Under EU competition law, the two companies' merged or acquired business would need to have a combined worldwide turnover in excess of ECU 5 billion and European sales turnover of ECU 250 million each.

A senior Cadbury executive announced the USD1.85 billion sale largely meets the criteria with the division at stake having a total turnover of only around GBP200 million (ECU 282.6 million). Cadbury Schweppes had also confirmed that the total turnover figure included sales in the US and France, both excluded from the transaction. Therefore, the soft drinks division of the British group was unlikely to meet the EU sales turnover criterion. Another reason why the European Commission would not have jurisdiction would be...

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