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Britvic Agrees to Buy C&C's Soft-Drinks Division

Irish drinks maker, Cantrell & Cochrane, sold its soft-drinks division to Britain's Britvic for 249.2 million euros ($336.5 million) in cash, both companies said Monday.

The deal means another top drinks brand synonymous with Ireland -- Ballygowan mineral water -- has gone into foreign ownership. Ireland's best-known whiskey brands, including Jameson's and Bushmills, are owned by France's Pernod Ricard, while Guinness stout is owned by Britain's Diageo.

Besides Ballygowan, Britvic is also acquiring a stable of largely Irish-sold products -- Club Orange soft drinks, MiWadi squash and Energize Sport -- as well as the bottling and distribution rights to the Pepsi and 7Up brands in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, a British territory.

Britvic said the deal would be funded entirely by borrowing and would be completed by Aug. 31, pending approval by Irish competition authorities. No job cuts or other significant operational changes are planned.

C&C said it agreed to the sale so that it could concentrate its business on its most successful brand, Bulmers cider, which over the past two years has become a runaway success in the British market under the brand name Magners. C&C also owns Tullamore Dew whiskey and Irish Mist liquer.

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