Cadbury Schweppes has today (25 April) broken its silence on the future of the Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group.

The UK soft drinks group is to buy the 55% in the US bottler that it does not already own for US$353m.
Cadbury Schweppes has agreed to pay US private equity firm The Carlyle Group US$334m for its 53% interest in Dr Pepper/Seven Up. Cadbury Schweppes then plans to pay US$19m to buy up the shares owned by employees to take full control of the company.

Todd Stitzer, CEO of Cadbury Schweppes, said: "The acquisition is strategically consistent, financially attractive and value enhancing. It gives us greater control over the distribution of our brands; improved operating efficiencies and customer service; and greater access to faster growing water and energy drinks."

The deal will give Cadbury Schweppes greater control over the distribution of key brands, including Dr Pepper, and give the company more clout with retailers in the US. The company plans to merge its US arm - Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages - with Dr Pepper/Seven Up to create Cadbury Schweppes Bottling Group. Gil Cassagne, currently president and CEO of CSAB, will run the combined business.

Cadbury Schweppes also said that it had struck a deal to buy All American Bottling Company (AABC), the third-largest independent bottler in the US for around US$65m. AABC already distributes around 2% of CSAB's carbonated volumes in the US.