October 31, 2012 / 7:36 AM / 5 years ago

Britvic, AG Barr get another extension for merger talks

Oct 31 (Reuters) - British soft-drink makers Britvic Plc and AG Barr Plc said they have been given a second extension by UK’s takeover panel to decide on their 1.4 billion pounds ($2.25 billion) merger.

The deadline for the companies to table a firm bid or end talks has been extended to Nov. 28. It was to expire on Wednesday.

Statements from the two companies said they made “substantial progress” and that the discussions were ongoing and at an advanced stage.

AG Barr, best-known for the Irn-Bru fizzy orange drink, made a move to merge with larger rival Britvic last month, which has been reeling from a product recall and poor weather in the UK.

Sales at both companies have been hit by unusually wet weather in the country this year. But Britvic, whose own brands include Robinsons, Fruit Shoot, Tango and J20, has had a torrid time in particular.

Earlier this month, Britvic said the recall of its popular Robinsons Fruit Shoot children’s drink in the United Kingdom over faulty bottle caps impacted revenue growth by about 2 percent.

The company’s revenue fell 0.8 percent to 1.26 billion pounds for the year ended Sept. 30. In contrast, AG Barr reported a 5 percent rise in revenue to 130 million pounds for the six months to July 28.

Shares in Britvic, which also makes and sells Pepsi and 7UP in Britain and Ireland, closed at 360 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday. They have risen 9.6 percent since the companies announced merger plans on Sept. 5.

AG Barr’s shares, which have gained about 8 percent since then, closed at 448 pence on Tuesday.

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