Bids of up to £500m expected for Britvic

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coca-cola, Britvic

Potential buyers are set to come up with bids for soft drinks giant Britvic within weeks after it was formally put up for sale.A memorandum of sale...

Potential buyers are set to come up with bids for soft drinks giant Britvic within weeks after it was formally put up for sale.

A memorandum of sale document has been sent out to a number of companies that have expressed an interest in the business.

Bids are expected to be as much as £500m for the company, which makes Tango, R Whites lemonade and Britvic J20 and distributes Pepsi in the UK.

The most likely buyer will be Pepsi itself, which owns a 10 per cent stake in the business, but others are thought to include drinks groups Matthew Clark and the Irish-based Cantrell & Cochrane. Another drinks company said to be interested is Cadbury Schweppes, which distributes its brands in the UK through a joint venture with Coca-Cola.

City analysts have suggested that Britvic's owners may see more value in breaking up the portfolio and selling brands to different buyers. Pepsi is still seen as the most likely buyer of the carbonated drinks, such as R Whites and Tango, but Britvic's other products would attract a lot of interest.

Its portfolio was boosted last July by its acquisition of Orchid Drinks, which took it into the "adult" market with brands such as Purdey's, Amé and Aqua Libra.

The remaining 90 per cent of Britvic is owned by Britannia Soft Drinks. This is owned jointly by Bass, which has a 50 per cent stake, and Whitbread and Allied Domecq, which each own 25 per cent.

Bass and Whitbread have confirmed they are interested in selling Britvic after disposing of their drinks businesses last year. Allied Domecq has also said it wants to focus on its global wine and spirits brands.

Investment bank Schroder Salomon Smith Barney, which sent out the sales memorandum last week, declined to comment.

Since speculation began about a disposal of Britvic, its value has increased significantly - two years ago it was worth about £300m but now it is likely to fetch between £400 and £500m.

Last month, Bass revealed that Britvic's sales volumes were "marginally" ahead of last year, partly because of a particularly strong performance by the Robinsons brand. Turnover was up by 3.3 per cent to £279m in the six months to April 14 and operating profit by 22 per cent to £11m.

Related topics: Soft & Hot Drinks

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