Carlsberg to buy Ballygowan maker Britvic in €3.9bn deal

Two earlier bids from Danish brewer had been rejected by UK soft-drink maker as undervaluing the business

Brand labels for bottles of Robinsons orange fruit and barley squash drink, produced by Britvic.

Carlsberg has agreed to buy soft-drink maker Britvic for £3.3 billion (€3.9 billion) in a deal that would allow the Danish brewer to expand its drinks bottling operations in the UK.

The agreement comes after Britvic rejected two earlier bids from Carlsberg, saying the Danish brewer was “significantly” undervaluing a group whose brands include Robinsons and Fruit Shoot. Britvic’s portfolio has a number of Irish brands, including Ballygowan water and the Club range of soft drinks.

As well as producing its own brands, Britvic is PepsiCo’s bottler in the UK. Carlsberg is PepsiCo’s bottler in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Cambodia and Laos.

“With this transaction, we are ... creating an enhanced proposition across the UK and other markets in western Europe,” said Carlsberg chief executive Jacob Aarup-Andersen. “We are excited about expanding our global partnership with PepsiCo and believe that the longer-term opportunities will be very beneficial for both companies.”


Under the terms of the deal, Carlsberg has agreed to pay 1,290p in cash for each Britvic share and pay Britvic shareholders a special dividend of 25p.

Britvic last month rejected earlier bids of 1,200p and 1,250p a share. The latest offer represents a premium of about 36 per cent to Britvic’s closing share price of 970p on June 19th, the day before speculation around Carlsberg’s interest in the London-listed company started.

According to Britvic’s website, the company’s history dates back to the 1930s, when a chemist in Chelmsford, Essex, began producing soft drinks.

Carlsberg said it had identified £100 million in cost savings over five years from the acquisition.

The deal would also offer Carlsberg a bigger platform in the UK, where it is the fourth largest brewer. Separately, Carlsberg agreed on Monday to take control of a brewing joint venture it has with UK group Marston’s. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024