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UK: Britvic, AG Barr ponder merger

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UK soft drinks companies Britvic and AG Barr are in talks over a possible merger.

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The two companies confirmed earlier today (5 September) that they have opened "preliminary discussions" over a share merger. Despite only being at an early stage, Britvic and AG Barr revealed that various details have already been set down.

Shareholders in Britvic would hold 63% of the merged entity, with AG Barr accounting for 37%. Also, the board would be "drawn equally" from both firms.

AG Barr's CEO, Roger White, would head up the new group, with John Gibney, CFO of Britvic, lined up to become CFO. The chairman of Britvic, Gerald Corbett, would assume the chairmanship, with Ronnie Hanna, AG Barr's chairman, would become deputy chairman. Each company would also nominate three non-executive directors.

"A merger would create one of the leading soft drinks companies in Europe, with a strong portfolio of market-leading brands," said Britvic this morning. "The combination would have compelling industrial logic and represents an opportunity for both companies to enhance their industry position, and achieve significant synergies and shareholder value."

As per stock exchange rules, AG Barr and Britvic will announce the outcome of their talks by close of trade on 3 October.

At 0942 this morning, Britvic's share price was up by 10.12% to GBP361.86, with AG Barr's share price performing similarly, rising by 12.02% to GBP427.62.

To read Britvic's statement, click here.

To see just-drinks' full coverage of AG Barr and Britvic's proposed merger, click here.


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