Could Lucozade and Ribena satisfy AG Barrs itchy trigger finger?

Could Lucozade and Ribena satisfy AG Barr's itchy trigger finger?

AG Barr is switching its attention to GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena brands, following the collapse of its proposed merger with Britvic, according to UK reports.

A story in The Sunday Times yesterday (14 July) claimed that Barr, which owns the Irn Bru brand, is looking to recruit a private equity partner to help fund a move for the two soft drinks brands. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) confirmed in April that it plans to sell Lucozade and Ribena, in order to focus its efforts more on its pharmaceutical and vaccine operations, as well as its non-soft drink consumer healthcare brands.

The news story, which does not cite sources, said that Barr may partner with Blackstone or Lion Capital. 

No-one at Barr or GSK was immediately available to discuss the reports when contacted by just-drinks this morning.

Last week, Barr saw its proposed merger with Britvic fall off the table after Britvic rejected an improved bid from the Scottish drinks firm. The two began merger discussions in September last year.

One analyst has previously suggested that The Coca-Cola Co may be interested in Lucozade, while Japan's Suntory is also thought to be monitoring the situation.

Lucozade is available in 30 markets, while Ribena is in 24 countries. Neither are on sale in the US. Last year, the two brands generated sales of GBP600m (US$939.5m) for GSK.

Expert analysis

GlaxoSmithKline Plc in Soft Drinks (United Kingdom)

GlaxoSmithKline Plc in Soft Drinks (United Kingdom)

In 2013, GlaxoSmithKline Plc announced plans to sell its Ribena and Lucozade brands. The company will eventually sell these two brands to refocus on faster-growing global products (such as Horlicks in...read more