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PepsiAmericas forms transaction committee to review Pepsi Co. proposal

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS PepsiAmericas Inc. said Friday that its board of directors has formed a transactions committee consisting of independent directors which has begun to review the non-binding proposal from PepsiCo Inc.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., Briggs and Morgan, P.A. and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP have been retained as advisors.

As previously announced, PepsiCo has proposed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of PepsiAmericas’ common stock.

With annual sales of $4.9 billion in 2008, PepsiAmericas employs more than 20,000 people and operates 33 manufacturing facilities and over 175 distribution centers across its markets.

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Coca-Cola elects CEO as chairman of the board

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA Coca-Cola Co. said Thursday its board of directors elected CEO Muhtar Kent as chairman of the board, according to reports.

Kent, 56, succeeds Neville Isdell. Isdell, 65, who retired following the company’s annual meeting Wednesday in Atlanta, the Associated Press said.

The company’s board said in December that Isdell would not stand for re-election as chairman and that the post would be given to Kent, who was also re-elected as president and CEO on Thursday. Kent became CEO in July.

At its annual meeting, Kent said the company may be able to boost its market share despite the global recession. He said there are opportunities in pushing its top brands like Coca-Cola in emerging markets and in ones where it has solid footing.

Shares rose 5 cents to $42.98 in midday trading.

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Hershey reports a ‘kiss’ of profit

BY Allison Cerra

HERSHEY, Pa. How sweet is it to be Hershey.

On Thursday, the confectionary giant announced that its first quarter net sales spiked 6.5% compared with the year-ago period. Earnings for the quarter were up almost 17.9% at $0.33 per share, compare with $0.28 per share during the first quarter 2008.

Hershey’s president and CEO David West said the sales boost was attributed to the company’s pricing action in 2008 and the longer Easter season. As for the remainder of the year, West’s outlook is line with the current economic climate.

“Despite the uncertainty related to volume declines due to pricing elasticity, we have confidence that earnings per share-diluted from operations will increase, but less than the long-term objective of 6 to 8%,” West said.

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