Companiesandmarkets.com

Britvic and AG Barr merger on the verge of collapse

Press Release   •   Jul 09, 2013 15:57 BST

The merger between AG Barr and Britvic is in doubt despite being given formal approval by the Competition Commission.

The merger plans were first announced in September 2012, in a deal the two companies said had "compelling industrial logic".

But in a statement to the stock exchange following the commission's final decision, Britvic chairman Gerald Corbett said: "The merger lapsed in February when the deal was referred to the Competition Commission."

Mr Corbett, who signalled last month that Britvic was cooling on the merger idea, said new chief executive Simon Litherland was in the process of implementing a plan to cut £30m of costs while expanding the business abroad.

"In addition, performance has improved, the merger benefits are materially less than they were and our share price is almost twice the level it was," he added.

Britvic has now said its prospects as a stand-alone company were "bright." Britvic also noted that AG Barr must now table a fresh offer for the company by the end of the month under takeover rules.

In its own statement this morning, Cumbernauld-based AG Barr said: "The board of AG Barr believes this is a significant positive step and, in light of this, will actively reconsider a potential merger with Britvic.

The antitrust regulator said on Tuesday that the deal was unlikely to reduce competition in the soft drinks industry or cause wholesale prices to increase significantly."

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