Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. confirmed Thursday that it was combining with two other Coca-Cola bottlers to form Coca-Cola European Partners, with combined annual revenue of $12.6 billion. Coca-Cola Enterprises will own 48% of the combined entity and Coca-Cola Iberian Partners will own 34%. The other merger partner, Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetr�nke AG, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co. , so Coke will the remaining 18% of the combined entity. The companies expect to realize annual synergies of $350 million to $375 million within three years. The Wall Street Journal had reported last week the three bottlers were in talks on a combination. Coca-Cola Enterprises' stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has surged 17% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 2%.
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