Sapporo Holdings has lined up the acquisition of a stake in Japanese food and drinks company Pokka.

The two companies confirmed yesterday (12 August) that Sapporo will buy a 21.65% stake in Pokka, amounting to around 2m shares, from Japanese investment fund Advantage Partners and others next month.

The purchase will cost Sapporo around JPY10bn (US$103.9m) and will see the company boost its presence in the domestic soft drinks market.

Sapporo and Pokka already work together in Japan, having agreed last year to stock each others' soft drinks brands in their respective vending machines in the country.

Pokka was the subject of a management buyout in 2005, when Advantage Partners agreed to buy the required percentage of shares in a tender-offer bid for Pokka's management team to take control of the company.

For the year to the end of March, the company posted group sales of JPY96.5bn. As well as its vending machine chain, the company is best known for its range of canned coffee products.

The transaction highlights once again the ongoing issues facing brewers in Japan, where a weakened economy and ageing consumer base has hit beer producers hard.

Two of Sapporo's competitors, Kirin Holdings and Suntory Holdings, confirmed last month that they have entered into discussions over a possible merger. Should the talks prove successful, the two would control around half of the Japanese beer market.

Earlier this month, Sapporo Holdings posted net losses and sliding sales in the first half of this year.