AG Barr could bounce back from Britvic rebuff with a Ribena bid

Marion Dakers
NOW AG Barr’s merger with Britvic has been put ice, the Scottish soft drinks firm appears to have developed a thirst for Ribena and Lucozade.

AG Barr is keen to approach private equity groups Blackstone and Lion Capital about joining their bid for the beverage brands, according to the Sunday Times.

GlaxoSmithKline put the two businesses up for sale in May following a strategic review.

AG Barr last week abandoned its pursuit of Britvic, which makes Robinson’s and J20, after a new all-share bid was turned down in spite of improved terms and recent clearance from the Competition Commission.

FTSE 250-listed AG Barr declined to comment on the report yesterday. GSK’s auction of the two brands, which could fetch as much as £1bn, is not expected to formally begin until the autumn.

GSK last month hired JP Morgan and Greenhill to advise it on the sale, while Blackstone and Lion Capital are taking advice from Rothschild on their potential bid. During its Britvic merger talks, AG Barr was also advised by Rothschild.

Other firms weighing up a bid include Suntory, the recently floated Japanese brewing group that owns Orangina.