OFT delays Britvic and AG Barr merger
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has delayed the merger between Britvic and Irn-Bru maker AG Barr while it continues to asses the deal. The deadline for the planned all-share merger, which will create a soft drink behemoth in Europe with sales in excess of £1.5 billion, has been extended by the OFT which will push it past its previous deadline of 30 January. The OFT wants to scrutinise the deal further to ensure it does not reduce competition in the UK drinks industry. A.G Barr and Britvic are awaiting a revised deadline for the OFT’s decision, which they expect to receive next month. In a joint statement the companies said, “Britvic and AG Barr will update the market as to the expected revised timetable in due course.” News of the talks between AG Barr, one of Scotland’s biggest marketers, and rival Britvic, emerged last September. If completed the deal could see AG Barr take a 37 per cent stake in the combined company, to be called Barr Britvic Soft Drinks, with Britvic investors taking the rest.