UK/Denmark: Carlsberg Eyes Britvic in Multi-Billion Dollar Acquisition Attempt

Britvic, a soft drinks company based in Hemel Hempstead, England, known for its popular brands like Robinsons, J2O, and Fruit Shoot, and also the bottler for PepsiCo in Great Britain and Ireland, has turned down two major acquisition proposals from Carlsberg.

The first offer, made on 6 June valued Britvic at GBP 2.99 billion (USD 3.79 bn) , followed by a second offer made on 11 June at GBP 3.10 billion (USD 3.93 bn), both of which were deemed insufficient by Britvic, citing that these offers undervalue the company's true worth and potential.

According to their own statements, Carlsberg is currently “reconsidering its position.” As The Times learned on June 21, Carlsberg is currently preparing a third offer, valuing the company at USD 3.58 billion.

Adding a layer of complexity, PepsiCo included a change-of-control clause in its bottling contracts with Britvic in 2020, allowing the termination of the agreements if Britvic changes ownership. However, in a statement issued today, Carlsberg reported that PepsiCo agreed to waive the clause if Britvic is acquired by Carlsberg.

Carlsberg, the third-largest brewer globally, sees a significant opportunity in acquiring Britvic to expand its presence in the soft drinks market, noting that the acquisition would enhance its growth trajectory in this segment.

Britvic’s stock performance has made it an attractive acquisition target, with shares trading lower than pre-pandemic levels despite a recent rally.

Carlsberg’s CEO, Jacob Aarup-Andersen, highlighted the company’s strong revenue growth and financial health, emphasizing its commitment to investing in market expansion and brand development for sustainable profitability. Britvic projected last year a 4% to 7% organic operating profit growth for 2023 and the initiation of a substantial share buy-back program.

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