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Nichols eying deal for Ribena and Lucozade

Nichols eying deal for Ribena and Lucozade

Soft drinks firm Nichols, which is responsible for brands such as Vimto and Panda, is reportedly considering making a bid for Glaxosmithkline's (GSK) Ribena and Lucozade.

The news was first broken three days ago (July 26th) by Sky News, which suggested that Nichols was being encouraged by GSK to enter a partnership with buyout firms in order to put a bid together.

If it were to go through, it would potentially represent the largest corporate deal in Nichols' history.

In a statement, Nichols said: "We are monitoring the sale of GSK’s drinks brands with interest but we understand that the process is in its early stage."

However, according to Food Manufacture, Nichols has not entered any discussions with any private equity firms about launching a potential bid for either Ribena or Lucozade.

AG Barr, the maker of popular drink Irn Bru, has been strongly tipped to submit a joint £1 billion bid with investors, after a merger with rival company Britvic collapsed, despite receiving approval from competition commissions.

Other groups reportedly interested include private equity companies such as Blackstone, Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners, KKR, Onex and Lion Capital, which already has extensive experience within the industry, after it bought the European division of Cadbury-Schweppes.

The company then sold it on to Suntory in a deal worth around £1.5 billion four years later.

A GSK spokesman told Food Manufacture: "We are not commenting on individual stories that are coming out.  

"We are still on track to reach an agreement to sell the two brands by the end of the year."

The reports come on the back of allegations levelled against GSK relating to bribery within certain parts of its business in China.

Rumours that GSK was thinking of selling off Ribena and Lucozade for an estimated fee of around £766 million, first came to light in March.

The speculation followed a strategic review of its business, and was finally confirmed the following March.


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