Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Charlotte, N.C., signed a definitive agreement with Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. to expand the bottler’s franchise territory to include the Knoxville, Tenn., area. This territory currently is served by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Co. The transaction is expected to close by the end of October 2014.

The agreement represents the second phase of the proposed franchise territory expansion described in the previously announced letter of intent between Coca-Cola Bottling and The Coca-Cola Co. The independent bottler continues to work toward a definitive agreement with The Coca-Cola Co. for the remainder of the proposed franchise territory expansion, which includes Cleveland and Cookeville, Tenn.; Louisville, Lexington, Paducah and Pikeville, Ky.; and Evansville, Ind.

“We are excited about signing a definitive agreement for another phase of our previously announced transaction with The Coca-Cola Co., expanding our franchise territory,” said Coca-Cola Bottling Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J. Frank Harrison III in a statement. “We look forward to serving the Knoxville community — including our customers, consumers, and new employees — there.”

The definitive agreement and other agreements to be entered into at closing will provide Coca-Cola Bottling with the exclusive rights to distribute brands owned by The Coca-Cola Co. as well as some other brands not owned by The Coca-Cola Co. that currently are being distributed in the Knoxville territory by Coca-Cola Refreshments. The transaction also includes the purchase of distribution assets and certain working capital items from Coca-Cola Refreshments relating to this territory. Under a comprehensive beverage agreement to be entered into at closing, Coca-Cola Bottling will make a quarterly sub-bottling payment to Coca-Cola Refreshments on a continuing basis after the closing of the exclusive distribution rights. Coca-Cola Bottling will not acquire any production assets from Coca-Cola Refreshments, and will, with certain exceptions, purchase finished goods from Coca-Cola Refreshments to service customers in this territory.

Coca-Cola Bottling is the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler with franchise territories in 11 states, according to the company. Its current major markets include: Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Greenville, the Triad and Asheville, N.C.; Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, S.C.; Charleston, Beckley and Parkersburg, W.Va.; Roanoke and Bristol, Va.; Nashville, Tenn.; Columbus and Albany, Ga.; Mobile, Ala.; Panama City, Fla.; and Biloxi, Miss.