Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Oklahoma City, has signed an agreement to be acquired by The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, for approximately $360 million. Great Plains is the fifth-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, with territories in Oklahoma and Arkansas, the company says.

“My family has been a proud part of the Coca-Cola system for nearly nine decades and has built Great Plains into one of the most innovative and successful bottlers in the U.S.,” said Robert F. Browne, chairman and chief executive officer of Great Plains, in a statement. “The reason for our success is simple: From the beginning we have always strived to provide the best quality drinks with the best customer service. As I look to the future, I believe this is the right action to ensure the continued success of this business that I love.”

Great Plains has been led by a member of the Browne family since 1922, when Virgil Browne and two investors acquired the franchise rights for the territory. Today, the company operates nine facilities and serves an area with more than 3 million people.

Pending regulatory approval and satisfaction of other customary conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Great Plains will become an operating unit within Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Co. Browne will assume a role supporting CCR in its ongoing work to improve its product supply and customer service operations.

"Bob and his team have been leaders in our U.S. system," said Steve Cahillane, president and chief executive officer of CCR, in a statement. "Great Plains is an organization that is driven by a commitment to continuous customer service. It has developed many innovative processes that customers consider best-in-class, including offering a single source of supply and providing outstanding customer service. CCR can learn a great deal from Great Plains and the success that they have created. We welcome Great Plains’ employees to the CCR family.”