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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Juice Takeover Talks Denied

A key shareholder in juice maker Lebedyansky denied that the company was in sale talks with PepsiCo.

A Lebedyansky spokesman confirmed the details of an Interfax report on Friday in which Nikolai Bortsov, Lebedyansky's former director and an owner of a 30 percent stake in the company, was quoted as telling reporters that there had been no discussions with PepsiCo, the world's No. 2 soft drink maker.

People familiar with the matter said Monday that PepsiCo was in talks with Lebedyansky and Kommersant reported that the U.S. firm had agreed to buy more than 76 percent of its shares for $1.5 to $2 billion before the year-end.

Bortsov's son Yury, Lebedyansky's chairman, has 25.13 percent in the firm, which has over 30 percent of the country's juice market, while 23.87 percent of shares are freely floated.

PepsiCo, which currently controls just 2 percent of Russia's juice market through the Tropicana brand, does not have its own juice-producing facilities in the country.

Analysts have said the deal became more likely after private equity group Lion Capital agreed to buy PepsiCo's previous target, the country's No. 3 fruit juice maker, Nidan Soki. Sources familiar with the matter said Deutsche Bank was advising Lebedyansky while Dresdner Bank and Renaissance Capital were advising PepsiCo on the deal.