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Pepsi Buys Russian Juice Company for $1.4 Billion

PepsiCo and the Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) said on Thursday they have agreed to buy 75.53 percent of the juice business of Lebedyansky, Russia's leading juice producer, for $1.4 billion.

The stake, which comprises shares held by Lebedyansky's four individual shareholders, will be split, with PepsiCo getting 75 percent and PBG 25 percent, the firms said in a joint statement.

"This agreement provides us with a strong platform for continued expansion in one of the world's fastest growing juice markets," said Michael White, PepsiCo International Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of PepsiCo.

Upon completion of the transaction, PepsiCo and PBG will make a mandatory offer to purchase the shares held by all remaining shareholders in Lebedyansky, which could bring their holding in the Russian firm to 100 percent.

Lebedyansky, which controls 30 percent of the Russian juice market and also makes baby food and mineral water, said the spin-off and acquisition of its juice business was expected in the third quarter of 2008.

In 2007, Lebedyansky's juice sales stood at around $800 million.

According to Pepsi and PBG, it is the world's sixth-largest juice producer.

About 23 percent of Lebedyansky shares are freely floated.

Its stock was down 0.46 percent at 2,150 roubles ($91.37) by 8:00 a.m. London time.

PepsiCo and PBG will buy its shares for $88.02.