Barr and Britvic merger delayed

Drinks firms AG Barr and Britvic will have to wait until at least February to see if their merger will get the thumbs up from the regulator as the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) continues to probe the deal.

Drinks firms AG Barr and Britvic will have to wait until at least February to see if their merger will get the thumbs up from the regulator as the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) continues to probe the deal.

The OFT is looking at whether the merger could result in a "substantial lessening of competition" in the UK drinks industry.

The combined group will have a formidable portfolio of brands, including Irn-Bru, Robinsons, Fruit Shoot and J20.

"[We] have been informed...that the OFT is extending the timetable for its decision on the merger as it has not yet completed its review," the firms said in a joint statement.

"As a result, the timetable for the implementation of the merger is being extended and the anticipated effective date of the merger will no longer be January 30th 2013 as previously announced.

"Britvic and A.G. Barr are awaiting a revised target decision date from the OFT (expected to be in February)," they said.

Under the terms of the merger Britvic shareholders will receive 0.816 AG Barr shares for every Britvic share held.

This means Britvic shareholders will end up controlling 63% of the combined company and AG Barr shareholders 37%.

However, the Barr name gets top billing in the new name of the group, which will be Barr Britvic Soft Drinks.

As for the dividing up of management positions, AG Barr's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Roger White, will hold the same position in the combined group, while John Gibney, currently CEO of Britvic, will be Chief Financial officer of the combined group.

Britvic also enjoys a strong relationship with US soft drinks leviathan, Pepsi Cola and the latter has given the thumbs-up to the merger.

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