Page last updated at 22:32 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 23:32 UK

Coca-Cola takes majority stake in Innocent smoothies

Bottles
Innocent was set up by three friends selling smoothies at music festivals

Coca-Cola has taken a majority stake in the British fruit smoothie maker Innocent, but said Innocent's three founders would keep running the firm.

The US drinks giant bought an 18% stake in the company a year ago for £30m, but has now upped its shareholding to 58%.

The price of the additional shares was not disclosed.

Innocent's three founders said most of the shares bought by Coca Cola were from the firm's original investor, Maurice Pinto, who wants to retire.

"As for us, we're selling a minority of our shares, but keeping the majority of them, and we will continue to lead the business, with no change or loss of control. The deal gives no new rights to Coke," they said.

Innocent promotes itself as ethically aware and donates 10% of its profits to charity.

The firm was set up in 1999 by the three friends - Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright - who spent £500 on fruit, turned it into smoothies and sold them at a small London music festival.



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