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Morningstar Analyst Says Coca-Cola, WhiteWave Partnership Would Make Sense


Speaking to Benzinga, Morningstar analyst Adam Fleck said that a partnership between The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) and WhiteWave Foods Co (NYSE: WWAV) would make sense.

Earlier Monday, Barron's published a blog saying a combination of the companies would be "too good to ignore." 

Fleck explained that Coca-Cola has shown its willingness to expose itself to higher growth areas through partnerships with Keurig Green Mountain Inc and Monster Beverage Corp.

He also pointed out that Coca-Cola has been “aiming at different aisles within the grocery store” with both a new milk product, its naturally-sweetened Coca-Cola Life and water products like Vitamin Water.

“I think they’re continually trying to find different ways to reach the end consumer,” he said. “From that standpoint, this probably would make some sense.”

WhiteWave has also enjoyed strong growth, Fleck explained, especially than the growth seen in soft drinks, which have been in a “difficult” situation for the past decade.

Shares of WhiteWave were recently up 1.75 percent at $35.55. Coca-Cola shares were up less than 1 percent.

The only reason Fleck would think of why this partnership might not have already happened is that Coca-Cola has been busy with other initiatives.

“There’s a lot of moving parts going on at Coke,” he said. “It’s not, by any stretch, a boring business. So I can only imagine that these things take time.”

The iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (NYSE: IYK) and PowerShares Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (NYSE: PXLG) ETFs, both holders of Coca-Cola, were trading up less than 1 percent Monday.


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