On behalf of all stakeholders of the Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) company, I offer the following cathartic, exclamatory syllable...


Indeed, for it looks like Coke has lost out to PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) when it comes to the Quiznos Sub chain. While this does pain me, it's important for long-term shareholders to keep things in proper perspective. These kinds of lost deals are going to happen; in fact, the fountain war waged by the mighty red can against its blue-colored archfoe is composed of a series of balancing wins and losses over various battlegrounds, kind of like an ongoing wrestling story line. Coke may no longer have the Quiznos business, but it does have Subway, which it scored at the expense of PepsiCo, which had served that market.

In fact, that deal is apparently part of the reason why Quiznos decided to hand the fountain fortune over to the powers that be at PepsiCo. Understandable, really, but hey, as a Coca-Cola shareholder, I'm disappointed that the Quiznos patrons won't have access to my company's brand portfolio. Their loss, in my admittedly biased opinion.

Fear not, though. Since I plan to hold my shares for a lengthy duration, this isn't going to shake my confidence. Business as usual, par for the course, the way things are -- pick a cliche, any cliche, and you've pretty much captured my insouciant ideology in such matters. The loss of Quiznos isn't going to sink the Atlanta giant; it isn't as if Coke products were no longer to be served at McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) -- now that would put a grimace on my face for sure.

Why am I so confident? Well, I do admit to being concerned about the ongoing pressure on Coca-Cola's stock. Back in 1998, the price peaked at about $88. Today, the shares trade at around half that amount.

The dividend increases have been sure and steady, however, and the generation of free cash and stock repurchase follow-throughs have been quite acceptable in my opinion (check out this mention of Coke's free-cash/buyback situation in the following Take). Granted, until the growth of case volume reaches a better rate of acceleration, the price action is destined to remain imprisoned in a ratty range. However, so long as those dividends continue to rise -- as they recently did in double-digit fashion for Kraft (NYSE:KFT) shareholders -- I'm happy to wait, since I don't plan on cashing out anytime soon.

Eat, drink, and read more Foolish Takes:

Want to discover other companies paying big dividends? Take a free, no-obligation trial to Motley Fool Income Investor.

Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Coca-Cola.