Japanese set to grab Glaxo drinks

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The Independent Online

Japan's Suntory drinks group is set to buy the historic Lucozade and Ribena brands from GlaxoSmithKline for about £1.5bn.

GSK has entered into exclusive talks with the ownder of Orangina and Schweppes, which means a full-blown auction of the drinks brands – which had been expected later this month – will not take place.

Suntory, is understood to be days away from completing the takeover. GSK revealed plans to sell Lucozade, first created in 1927, and Ribena, which dates back to 1938, in April.

Suntory, best-known in Japan for its whisky, sees an opportunity to increase the two brands' annual sales of more than £500m. The price tag of £1.5bn would represent a multiple of 15 times the forecast profits for Lucozade and Ribena in 2013.