PepsiCo has stayed silent after recent press coverage claimed it has agreed to buy a majority stake in Russian juice maker Lebedyansky.

Local reports today (13 August) have claimed that the soft drinks giant is in talks to acquire a 76% stake in the Lebedyansky juice company from its majority shareholders in a deal worth over US$1.5bn.

The two companies could sign an agreement on the sale as early as next month, reports said, with the deal possibly completing before the end of the year.

Speaking to just-drinks today (13 August), however, a spokesperson for PepsiCo said: "In keeping with our longstanding policy, we are not commenting on these rumours."

Last week, Prime-TASS News reported that the Russian juice company was looking to invest heavily in a juice production facility in Siberia and will plough US$50m into the new plant, which is expected to be operational in October 2009.

Earlier in the year, Lebedyansky was pipped to the purchase of Ukrainian juice company Sandora by PepsiAmericas and PepsiCo, who bought the company for US$542m.