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Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Coca-Cola mulling Snapple bid

RIVALS Reports said that Cadbury had received at least three acquisition bids, worth about US$16.1 billion, for the US division that makes Snapple, Dr Pepper and 7 Up

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Coca-Cola Co, the world's biggest soft-drink manufacturer, may consider making a bid for Cadbury Schweppes PLC's Snapple fruit-beverage unit, a move that would fit into its plan to expand with water and teas as soda consumption falls.

Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, will evaluate whether it can make an offer for the division or submit a joint bid with another company, spokesman Dana Bolden said yesterday, confirming remarks made by chief executive officer Neville Isdell to Reuters.

Bolden declined to comment further.

Coca-Cola wants to gain market share with new drink products as sales of soda dropped last year for the second year in a row. The company agreed to buy Energy Brands Inc in May for US$4.1 billion, the biggest purchase in its 115-year history, to obtain Glaceau Vitaminwater.

Cadbury Schweppes, the biggest confectionery company in the world, said last month that some companies had expressed interest in buying the US division that makes Snapple, Dr Pepper and 7 Up.

The London-based candy maker didn't identify the potential buyers. It received at least three bids worth about ?8 billion (US$16.1 billion), the New York Times reported on June 18.

Isdell said Coca-Cola is determining whether Snapple "is of interest to us or whether we can do it on our own," Reuters reported yesterday.

He answered a question related only to the Snapple brand, Bolden said.

Coca-Cola has spoken with several private equity funds that already started talks about a bid for Cadbury's US drinks division about buying Snapple, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing unidentified people.

The candy maker said in March that it would sell or spin off the unit after pressure from investor Nelson Peltz, whose investment firm has accumulated a stake in the company.

Cadbury bought Snapple Beverage Corp from Peltz's Triarc Cos for US$1.45 billion in October 2000.

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