Suntory Buys Ribena And Lucozade For £1.34bn
Japanese drinks giant Suntory has confirmed it will buy the top-selling Lucozade and Ribena brands from British drugs firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for £1.34bn.
The deal, part of Suntory's bid to expand overseas to counter a shrinking domestic market, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Energy drink Lucozade and the Ribena juice brand would help Suntory's food and beverage unit move closer to hitting a £12.76bn annual sales target in 2020, it said.
The unit, which debuted on Tokyo's stock exchange in July after a £2.49bn share sale, said it would "actively pursue" more cross-border deals.
"In our international business, we are expanding our business in emerging markets and strengthening our business platform in order to improve profitability by further developing our existing brands and growing our production and sales," the company said in a statement.
Last week, Sky News broke the news that Suntory was in advanced talks on a deal that would pre-empt an auction of the iconic British drinks.
Japan's second-largest drinks maker has plenty of cash after an initial public offering in June that raised £2.55bn.
Lucozade and Ribena are well-loved in Britain but lack global reach, especially in the big emerging markets that are becoming the focus of the British drugmaker's consumer health business.
For Suntory, however, they offer a growth opportunity to counter sluggish demand at home.
Suntory bought the Orangina Schweppes drinks brand for more than £1.92bn in 2009, giving it a significant presence in France and Spain.
By acquiring a new business with a focus on Britain, Suntory said it expected to further grow sales.
The purchase also allows the Japanese group to extend its reach into countries where GSK already operates, such as Nigeria and Malaysia.
Lucozade and Ribena have combined annual sales of just over £500m a year.