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UK: Will PepsiCo snap up Britvic?

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PepsiCo would not comment today on press reports that it is looking to acquire one of the UK's leading soft drink companies, Britvic.But one leading analyst with a US investment bank told just-drinks.com it is "likely" that the soft drinks giant, Pepsi, which already has a 10% share in Britvic, will want to take control of the holding company, Britannia."Britvic has been quite a success for Pepsi so it is likely it would want to keep hold of the business," he said.Bass PLC, which has a 50.1% share of Britannia, is waiting to hear whether the sale of its brewing division can go ahead. While Allied Domecq and Interbrew UK (formally Whitbread Beer Co.) which hold the rest of the Britannia shares, have made no secret they would like to sell up.Commenting on who might be instigating such a sale, which has been valued at between £350m (US$521m) and £400m (US$596m), the analyst said: "Bass has the biggest stake and has made no secret that Britvic is no longer a core business, and because Allied Domecq and Bass failed to reach an agreement on the price that Bass might acquire the Allied stake, it is likely they will want to exit."He continued: "They are out of brewing and are no longer supplying alcoholic drinks, and so they do not want to be in the position now of selling non-alcoholic drinks."Britvic, which recently acquired Orchid Soft Drinks and makes Tango, Robinsons and J2O, made profits of £44m last year and said the Pepsi rumour was "pure speculation."


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