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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Brazilian Merger Partners Slam Coke

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Two Brazilian breweries that agreed last July to form Latin America's biggest beverage company accused Coca-Cola Co. on Thursday of trying to derail their $3.9 billion deal in order to suppress a competitive threat.

Coca-Cola of Atlanta, the world's leading soft drink producer, denied the accusations made by the merger partners in Companhia de Bebidas das Americas, known as AmBev.

Coke owns a 10 percent stake in Companhia Cervejarias Kaiser, Brazil's No. 3 brewery. Together, they have 30 percent of the beverage market in Brazil.

The two companies that agreed to combine into AmBev, Companhia Cervejaria Brahma and Companhia Antarctica Paulista, together have 40 percent of the Brazilian market.

Kaiser has sought to prevent the formation of AmBev, arguing its breweries would have a stranglehold on the beer market, but Thursday was the first time the AmBev partners had brought Coke's name into the debate.