Permira holds fire on Britvic bid

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gatorade, Pepsico, Kohlberg kravis roberts, Britvic

Private equity group Permira denied it was about to unveil a bid to
buy Britain's biggest soft drinks group, Britvic, following two
days of heavy speculation.

Permira said it did not intend to make an offer for Britvic, the maker of Tango and Robinsons, after several press reports linking the group to a possible £600m bid this week.

But, there were signs the private equity group wished to keep the idea afloat.

It reserved the right to "participate" in any offer made for Britvic within the next six months under certain circumstances. This included joining in a third party offer if it had the approval of Britvic's board.

It is not the first time private equity is understood to have been sniffing round Britvic, which also has the UK licence to PepsiCo's Pepsi, 7Up and Gatorade drinks. French group PAI partners reportedly showed interest earlier this year, while US group KKR is thought to have taken a look in 2005.

Fresh rumours come only a few days after Britvic announced a greater emphasis on non-carbonated soft drinks had helped it to pull back lost ground in the last 20 weeks.

Sales of still drinks rose 7.5 per cent to offset a 5.8 per cent decline for the fizzy division, revealing the ongoing consumer shift away from sugary carbonates.

Britvic, initially caught out by the pace of this trend, has pledged to reinvigorate itself through innovation and expansion in still drinks. Consultant group Nunwood has been testing new products and concepts for the firm.

"The total stills market continues to be led by categories such as pure juice where Britvic has yet to develop a presence, and water where Britvic has only recently entered the category,"​ Britvic said last week.

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