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Pepsico in talks to buy stake in Russia’s Lebedyansky

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Pepsico Inc. is negotiating to acquire a 76.13 per cent stake in Russia’s top juice maker Lebedyansky for $1.5-2 billion, according to a newspaper report.

“They are close to an agreement, and it is expected that the deal will be announced in September or October,” the newspaper cited a source.

Former Lebedyansky director Nikolai Bortsov holds a 30 per cent stake in the company, his son Yuri (chairman) has 25.1 per cent, and other members of the board of directors own 20.4 per cent. Another 23.87 per cent is traded on Russia’s stock exchanges.

The world’s No.2 soft drink firm is hoping to push its Russian juice market share, at present dominated by rival CocaCola. The latter commands over one-fifth of the Russian juice market after the $530 million purchase of producer Multon in 2005. Lebedyansky, which had sales of USD710 million last year, controls over 27 per cent of the market.

Lebedyansky and PepsiCo declined immediate comments.

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