The Latin American drinks producer AmBev, which has recently merged with Belgium's Interbrew, has begun the search for a buyer for its sports drink Marathon, local press said today.

AmBev recently suspended sales of Marathon with an eye on selling the brand after Brazilian anti-trust authorities ruled that the company would have to dispose of the brand if it wanted to distribute Gatorade in the market. AmBev signed an agreement ith PepsiCo to distribute Gatorade in 2001.

The Administrative Council of Economic Defence (CADE) ruled that AmBev would have more than 94% of the isotonic market if it kept hold of Marathon and Gatorade, a situation CADE was unhappy with.

CADE ruled Ambev would have to sell the brand rather than just kill the brand off.