Cadbury on Thursday said that it has agreed to sell its Schweppes Beverages business in Australia to Asahi Breweries Ltd for around 550 million pounds ($795.9 million) in cash.
The companies previously announced they had reached a conditional agreement in December, which was subject to a right of negotiation granted to Coca-Cola Co.
The deal was made after Coca-Cola said it did not want to exercise its option, granted in 1999, to negotiate on any potential sale of Schweppes, which is best known for its lemonade and other soft drinks. Cadbury has, therefore, agreed a definitive deal with Asahi.
The terms of the deal were originally announced on 24 December and have not changed since then.
The acquisition will strengthen our international soft drinks business, create a new platform for growth in Oceania and enable us to capture syneergies across the group, Hitoshi Ogita, president, Asahi Breweries Ltd, said in a press release yesterday.
"The soft drinks business is one of the key pillars of the group. The group is seeking further growth for its soft drinks business by expanding beyond its domestic market where Asahi Soft Drinks Co plays the key role for its growth,'' Ogita said in December the deal was on its final leg.
''In Asia, we are reinforcing the group's support toward Tingyi-Asahi-Itochu Beverages in China to accelerate its growth and toward Haitai Beverage in South Korea to strengthen its management foundation. In addition, we have been constantly pursuing investment opportunities to enter into the promising new markets in the soft drinks sector worldwide,'' he added.
The disposal of beverages business is part of Cadbury's decision to focus on its confectionery and chewing gum business.
Cadbury expects the deal to be completed by 30 April.
Schweppes Australia is currently the second largest player in the Australian non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages market, with high market shares across its various product categories, including carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks and mineral water. It has a portfolio of owned and franchised brands. Owned brands include Schweppes, Cottee's, Solo and Spring Valley. Franchised brands include Pepsi, Sunkist and Gatorade.