Coca-Cola Company offered to buy Chinese juice maker Huiyuan for a hefty price tag of $2.5 billion, marking the biggest takeover in China by a foreign company. Coca-Cola agreed to pay HK$12.20 a share in cash -- 43 times Huiyuan''s forecast 2008 earnings and nearly three times its Friday close of HK$4.14 -- for the 16-year-old company. Huiyuan shares soared 170 percent on Wednesday, regaining levels last seen in October 2007. Huiyuan, more than one-fifth-owned by France''s Danone, controls 10.3 percent of a Chinese fruit-vegetable juice market that grew 15 percent last year to $2 billion. It''s followed closely by Coca-Cola with a 9.7 percent market share. Three shareholders, including Danone, holding a combined 66 percent in Huiyuan agreed to sell their stakes, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Coca-Cola will now make a general offer for all shares, bonds and options in Huiyuan, and plans to take the company private. Coca-Cola, which has offset flat sales at home by expanding globally, dominates a growing Chinese diluted-juice market and now hopes to make inroads into an untapped pure-juice sector. Major acquisitions have slowed to a trickle in past years in a fragmented Chinese consumer industry as companies grapple with fierce competition and a slide in margins. Analyst say local brand names are known to resist foreign control. China is already Coca-Cola''s fourth-largest market and a crucial battleground with rival PepsiCo -- it has twice Pepsi''s soft-drinks market share with 15.5 percent. Coca-Cola is paying a high premium for a company it hopes will strengthen its grip on the domestic juice market.