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AG Barr bottles it with Britvic marriage

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 19:39 GMT on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013.

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Picture: courtesy of Bill Henry.

THE proposed corporate marriage of two soft drink manufacturing giants has lost its fizz, after AG Barr announced it was walking away from the table.

Cumbernauld-based Irn-Bru manufacturer, AG Barr, announced last week that it was to walk away from the table after a revised offer to merge with English competitor, Britvic, was rejected.

Both AG Barr and Britvic unveiled proposals for the £1.4 billion all-share merger in September, but the marriage was suspended and referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading.

On Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 the Competition Commission provisionally approved the merger; reporting back last Tuesday, to officially give the green light to the merger.

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Last month, when the commission provisionally backed the marriage, Barr said that they would await the final conclusions of the commission, but Britvic appeared more sceptical, appearing to suggest that they were to pull out of the deal.

Since the commission gave the green light for the marriage to proceed, AG Barr announced that a revised proposal had been presented to the board of Britvic; a proposal which was rejected, despite being “more favourable terms for Britvic shareholders”, according to AG Barr.

Ronnie Hanna, chairman of AG Barr, said: “While we are disappointed that the opportunity to create significant value for both sets of shareholders has been rejected, the board of AG Barr has every reason to be confident of its position as a stand-alone company.

“AG Barr continues to outperform the UK soft drinks market and will follow its successful long-term strategy supported by a strong balance sheet, unique brands and a well invested asset base.”

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