Pepsi Bottling Group, the drinks bottler currently in a takeover tussle with its majority shareholder, Pepsico, has signed a deal to buy Massachusetts-based firm Pepsi-Cola Bottlers for the Merrimack Valley.

Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) said yesterday (14 May) that it has signed a letter of intent to buy up the provincial group, which was founded in 1959 and employs 70 people. A fee was not disclosed.

"We continue to capitalise on geographic growth opportunities as part of our strategy to win in the marketplace and create shareholder value," said PBG chairman and CEO Eric Foss.

The move, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2009, is the latest in a series of takeovers by PBG in the last year, including Better Beverages in Texas, Lane Affiliated, the eighth largest PepsiCo bottler in the US, and Pepsi-Cola Batavia Bottling Corp.

Earlier this week, PepsiCo filed a lawsuit against PBG after the bottler refused to agree to a takeover bid from the soft drinks giant, which owns a 33% stake in the group.