Coca-Cola deal highlights Rothschild’s US ambitions

Close-up shot of empty vintage coca-cola bottles in red plastic case left in the street, in sunset light

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Rothschild has advised The Coca-Cola Company on its $ 3.15 billion acquisition of a 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa from Belgian brewing group AB InBev, announced on December 21. Akeel Sachak, Rothschild’s global head of consumer, is among the bankers working with Coca-Cola, a spokesperson for Rothschild confirmed.

The work with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola comes as Rothschild aims to build out its US business.In November it hired former Credit Suisse banker Michael Speller to run a new debt advisory business in North America. That hire followed its appointment of ex-UBS banker James Neissa to develop its US advisory operations. At that time, global advisory head Robert Leitão said the firm saw “a lot of opportunities” in North America.

The deal is the second announced in two weeks in which Rothschild has sat on the opposite side of the table to AB InBev. On December 13 the firm was named alongside Barclays as an adviser to Japanese brewer Asahi on a €7.3 billion purchase of several beer brands from the Belgian group.

AB InBev was busy offloading assets in 2016 to gain clearance for its takeover of SABMiller, valued by data firm Dealogic at $ 133 billion.

It has also been a busy year for Rothschild’s advisory business. Its role advising Bayer on a $ 66 billion takeover of Monsanto is the firm’s largest ever M&A mandate from an acquirer.

The firm ranks 13th for global announced M&A in 2016 based on deal value, according to Dealogic, and third by number of transactions.

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