In 1892, Candler set out to incorporate a second company; “The Coca-Cola Company” (the current corporation). When Candler had the earliest records of the “Coca-Cola Company” burned in 1910, the action was claimed to have been made during a move to new corporation offices around this time.
After Candler had gained a better foothold on Coca-Cola in April 1888, he nevertheless was forced to sell the beverage he produced with the recipe he had under the names “Yum Yum” and “Koke”. This was while Charley Pemberton was selling the elixir, although a cruder mixture, under the name “Coca-Cola”, all with his father’s blessing. After both names failed to catch on for Candler, by the summer of 1888, the Atlanta pharmacist was quite anxious to establish a firmer legal claim to Coca-Cola, and hoped he could force his two competitors, Walker and Dozier, completely out of the business, as well.
On August 16, 1888, Dr. John Stith Pemberton suddenly died, Asa G. Candler then sought to move swiftly forward to atta
in his vision of taking full control of the whole Coca-Cola operation.
Charley Pemberton, an alcoholic, was the one obstacle who unnerved Asa Candler more than anyone else. Candler is
said to have quickly maneuvered to purchase the exclusive rights to the name “Coca-Cola” from
Pemberton’s son Charley right after Dr. Pemberton’s death. One of several stories was that Candler bought the title to the name from Charley’s mother for $300; approaching her at Dr. Pemberton’s funer
al. Eventually, Charley Pemberton was found on June 23, 1894, unconscious, with a stick of opium by his side. Ten days later, Charley died at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital at the age of 40.
In Charles Howard Candler’s 1950 book about his father, he stated: “On August 30th , he [Asa Candler] became sole proprietor of Coca-Cola, a fact which was stated on letterheads, invoice blanks and advertising copy.”
With this action on August 30, 1888, Candler’s sole control became technically all true. Candler had negotiated with Margaret Dozier and her brother Woolfolk Walker a full payment amounting to $1,000, which all agreed Candler could pay off with a series of notes over a specified time span. By May 1, 1889, Candler was now claiming full ownership of the Coca-Cola beverage, with a total investment outlay by Candler for the drink enterprise over the years amounting to $2,300.
In 1914, Margaret Dozier, as co-owner of the original Coca-Cola Company in 1888, came forward to claim that her signature on the 1888 Coca-Cola Company bill of sale had been forged. Subsequent analysis of certain similar transfer documents had also indicated John Pemberton’s signature was most likely a forgery, as well, which some accounts claim was precipitated by his son Charley.
On September 12, 1919, Coca-Cola Co. was purchased from the Candler family by a group of investors led by the Trust Company of Georgia’s (predecessor of SunTrust Bank) president Ernest Woodruff for $25 million. The new Coca-Cola Co. was reorganized and reincorporated in the state of Delaware, but the company’s headquarters would remain in Atlanta. Five hundred thousand shares of stock in the new company were issued and offered to the public for $40 a share. The sale of Coca-Cola and subsequent chance for the public to purchase stock made national and international news.
In 1986, The Coca-Cola Company merged with the John T. Lupton franchises and BCI Holding Corporation’s bottling holdings – forming Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE).
In 1988, Berkshire Hathaway purchased 14,172,500 shares of The Coca Cola Company at a cost of $592,540,000.
In December 1991, a merger between Coca-Cola Enterprises and the Johnston Coca-Cola Bottling Group, Inc. created a larger, stronger organization with Johnston’s senior management team assuming management responsibilities.