The acquisition of Cadbury Schweppes' European soft drinks business by the private equity groups Blackstone Group and Lion Capital has been given the green light by the European Commission.

In November, Cadbury Schweppes announced the sale of the division to a consortium led by Blackstone Group and Lion Capital for EUR1.85bn (US$2.17bn). The amount, paid in cash, represents approximately 9.5 times the unit's forecast 2005 underlying EBITDA.

The beverage unit's main brands are Schweppes, Orangina, TriNa, Oasis and La Casera, which account for around 75% of sales. Other brands include Apollinaris, Pampryl, Gini and Vida. The business has wholly-owned bottling operations in Germany, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.