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Scotland-based A.G. Barr is famed for making fizzy drink Irn-Bru/AFP

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British regulator approves soft drinks merger

Scotland-based A.G. Barr is famed for making fizzy drink Irn-Bru/AFP

Scotland-based A.G. Barr is famed for making fizzy drink Irn-Bru/AFP

LONDON, June 2013 – Britain’s Competition Commission on Tuesday gave the green light to a merger of soft drinks groups Britvic and A.G. Barr.

The pair had agreed in November to merge and form a new European giant with annual sales of more than £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion, 1.8 billion euros).

“The CC has concluded that the proposed acquisition is not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition and would not cause wholesale prices to increase significantly,” the watchdog said in its provisional findings into the deal.

“The CC’s assessment, and the views of most retailers and other customers of the merging companies, suggested that the two companies’ brands were not close competitors.

“The CC also did not consider that the increased size of the merged company would mean new entrants and smaller companies would be disadvantaged significantly in obtaining listings at retailers.”

Scotland-based A.G. Barr is famed for making fizzy drink Irn-Bru. It also produces other carbonated drinks such as Orangina and Tizer, as well as Rubicon exotic juices.

Britvic meanwhile produces Fruit Shoot, J20 and Robinsons juices, as well as fizzy drink Tango and Lipton Ice Tea.

Britvic also has exclusive bottling agreements with Pepsi in Britain and Ireland to manufacture and distribute Pepsi, Pepsi Max and 7UP.

The merger will create a new company called Barr Britvic Soft Drinks PLC. Britvic will own 63 percent of the new group, with the rest held by A.G. Barr.

Both companies welcomed Tuesday’s announcement from the Commission, which will publish its final report by July 30.

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