Coca-Cola, the world's largest soft drink maker has taken a majority stake in British smoothie maker Innocent Drinks, but has left operational control of the business with its founders.
The Atlanta-Georgia-based drinks giant had taken an 18-per cent stake in Innocent last year for £30 million, but decided yesterday to raise its shareholding to 58 per cent.
The financial terms of buying the additional stake was not disclosed.
In a statement, Innocent said that Coca-Cola is buying the shares of the company's two original start-up investors, who want to retire. In addition, each of the founders of innocent will relinquish a minority of their own shares, while retaining a major portion.
The founders will continue to run the business as before, pursuing their mission of achieving better social and environmental standards across the business and donating 10 per cent of profits to charity.
Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent said, "This deal is good news for all parties - it allows our original investors to retire and realise the value they helped create, Coca-Cola gets to increase its investment in the business and we strengthen our relationship with a partner that can help our international expansion.