The owners of Orangina Schweppes Group have confirmed that they have received an offer for the company from Suntory Holdings.

In confirming the move yesterday (22 September), private equity groups Lion Capital and Blackstone declined to detail the offer amount. Sources close to the situation, however, have cited the transaction to be in the region of EUR2.6bn (US$3.8bn).

The two companies acquired Orangina Schweppes from what is now Cadbury in early 2006 for EUR1.85bn (US$2.17bn).

"Orangina Schweppes Group will now undertake the appropriate communication and consultation with relevant employee representatives", the companies said, adding that they would only make a decision on Suntory's bid once the necessary social, legal and regulatory steps will have been completed.

Suntory, which is in talks itself over a merger with its Japanese rival Kirin Holdings, confirmed that it had entered talks over Orangina Schweppes earlier this month.

Orangina Schweppes is the number two player in the European still soft drinks market and the number three player in the European CSD market.