JP Morgan, Greenhill advising GSK on sale of soft drinks brands

LONDON Thu May 2, 2013 4:58am EDT

LONDON May 2 (Reuters) - JP Morgan and Greenhill have been appointed to advise GlaxoSmithKline on the sale of its soft drinks brands Lucozade and Ribena, which analysts believe will fetch more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion).

A spokesman for Britain's biggest drugmaker said on Thursday the two firms had been selected following keen interest from many banks.

The sale of Lucozade and Ribena - which are big sellers in Britain but lack global reach - is expected to attract interest from drinks companies and private equity houses.

Japan's Suntory Holdings has been tipped as a possible buyer, along with private equity firms such as Blackstone, BC Partners, PAI, Lion Capital, Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners and KKR. All have declined to comment.

Lucozade and Ribena together bring in nearly 600 million pounds a year.

Assuming potential buyers are prepared to pay two times sales, that would point to a valuation of some 1.2 billion pounds. Analysts at Deutsche Bank, however, believe the two brands should bring in more than 1.5 billion pounds.

GSK announced its intention to sell the products last week, following a strategic review of options.

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