PepsiCo has hinted that it could walk away from its bid to buy Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas, rather than meet the bottlers' demands for a higher offer.

PepsiCo continued to defend its combined US$6bn offer for the bottlers yesterday (2 June), following a Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) conference call in which the firm outlined why PepsiCo's bid price of $29.5 per share is too low.

PepsiCo retaliated with a hint that it may walk from the deal: "PepsiCo has a track record of being a disciplined buyer and will maintain that disciplined approach in this transaction."

It added: "If in the future PepsiCo remains a stockholder in a public PBG, PepsiCo intends to maintain a disciplined stance with regard to the commercial arrangements between PBG and PepsiCo."

The soft drinks giant, which already owns 33% of PBG and 43% of PepsiAmericas, rubbished PBG's claims that potential synergies from the deal may reach $850m. PepsiCo's offer is based on synergies of around $200m.

"By way of comparison, PBG previously communicated to PepsiCo that a combination of PBG and PepsiAmericas would generate synergies well below $100m," said PepsiCo.

"PepsiCo made its proposal to acquire its two anchor bottlers because of the need to strategically reshape the business and improve the system's competitiveness and growth prospects," it added.

PBG chief financial officer Alfred Drewes said yesterday: "The ball is in PepsiCo's court."