Britvic and AG Barr given green light

After a long wait the UK Competition Commission has provisionally agreed to allow Britvic and AG Barr to merge, creating Europe’s largest drinks company.

In the time it has taken the commission to give this tie-up the green light, Britvic has embarked on extensive company reorganisation. The two companies originally agreed terms back in February; however since then the playing field has changed somewhat. Britvic was always the larger of the two, but has subsequently managed to streamline costs and make inroads into the Indian market.

Having undertaken these changes Britvic now feel they are in a better place to renegotiate terms with AG Barr. With the cost-cutting measures they have implemented they have effectively reduced some of the synergies that the two companies were likely to make, therefore making the deal a little less attractive to them. Even so this is an opportunity to create one of Europe’s largest companies, providing an array of drinks from Tango to Robinsons to Irn-Bru. Competition commissions can be fickle and an opportunity like this might not be available if applied for later; the commission will give its final ruling in July and the two companies are expected to sit down again in August.

The stagnation in the process has done nothing for the share prices, with AG Barr effectively being range-bound and trading sideways. Britvic has fared better, edging slightly higher over the last six months.

Barr (A.G.) plc chart
Britvic chart

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