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    Cadbury Close to Landing Orangina

    The deal, valued at $590 million, could be announced within the next two weeks.

    Cadbury Schweppes said yesterday that it's near an agreement to buy Orangina and other soft drinks brands from Pernod Ricard for about $590 million, The New York Times reported.

    In an announcement on the proposed deal, Cadbury Chief Executive John Sunderland said, "Our beverages operations are now clearly focused on the profitable markets of North America, Continental Europe and Australia. Europe is out second largest beverages market and demonstrated strong profit growth over the last few years."

    He added that the potential acquisitions "would make a significant contribution to our objective of building robust and sustainable businesses in our chosen markets."

    Cadbury's, which has been in talks to buy Orangina since last fall, is expected to expand Orangina's distribution in the United States through its relationship with independent bottlers that distribute Cadbury's other drinks, including 7Up, Dr Pepper, Snapple and Mott's. Cadbury would also gain control of Orangina's Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink brand.

    The deal would also increase Cadbury's market share in Europe, where its portion of the soft drink market is modest compared with those of Coca-Cola and Pepsico. Cadbury will get an especially large lift in France, where Orangina is the number-two soft drink brand after Coke, the report said.

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