Blackstone eyes Lucozade and Ribena drinks

US private equity giant Blackstone has developed a thirst for Lucozade and Ribena after the soft drinks’ owner GlaxoSmithKline mooted a sale.

GSK chief executive Andrew Witty said last month the two drinks did not “naturally fit” with the firm’s operations and that he was considering selling them.

Now Blackstone is considering a £1bn-plus if the sale goes ahead, Sky News reported yesterday, adding that the company is expected to appoint an investment bank for the deal around April.

Blackstones, which previously owned the European beverages division of Cadbury-Schweppes with Lion Capital, is likely to face competition for the brands from the likes of buyout firms such as Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners, KKR and Lion, as well as other drinks companies.

GSK, which did not comment yesterday, has said it may look for partners to help grow the brands rather than selling them off.