Coca-Cola Amatil is seeking approval from New Zealand's competition authority to buy fruit drinks brand Baker Halls.

A Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) spokesperson confirmed to just-drinks last night (8 December) that the soft drinks giant has signed an "agreement in principle" to buy Baker Halls, which is owned by the Old Fashioned Foods Group.

CCA has filed an application with New Zealand's Competition Commission.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, but the spokesperson desribed the deal as a "small, non-material acquisition".   

Baker Halls, founded by the Baker family in Central Otago nearly 100 years ago, claims to be the number one fruit juice syrup brand in New Zealand. It says its products are free of artificial preservatives, flavours and colours.

News of the deal comes less than a month after CCA itself was placed at the centre of takeover speculation, following a A$7.7bn (US$4.9bn) bid from Australian brewer Lion Nathan, which is owned by Japan's Kirin Holdings.

CCA has so far rejected Lion Nathan's advances as "materially deficient", upon advice from its own parent firm, The Coca-Cola Company.