Britvic walks away from tie-up with AG Barr as deal collapses

BRITVIC yesterday walked away from its planned merger with rival AG Barr despite a revised offer, saying the new terms still failed to reflect its current market capitalisation.

The firm, best known for its Tango and fruit shoot drinks, revealed that AG Barr had upped the merger terms to give Britvic shareholders 65 per cent of the enlarged group and Barr shareholders 35 per cent.

The small increase from its original plan to give Britvic shareholders 63 per cent of the merged firm was not enough, said Britvic.

The two firms had originally agreed to merge in November, but a competition investigation into the proposed deal meant it could not be completed. The Competition Commission finally approved the deal on Tuesday.

But the delay gave Britvic time to step up expansion into overseas markets such as United States, India and Spain. Since then its share price has surged by almost 75 per cent, and it has secured a new chief executive, Simon Litherland. “Our performance has significantly improved,” it said in a statement yesterday.

AG Barr said it was “disappointed” but “confident as a stand-alone company”.