REGULATORS are expected to give the go-ahead this week to the £1.4 billion merger of AG Barr and Pepsi bottler Britvic, despite talk of competition concerns in Scotland.
The maker of Irn-Bru and its larger southern rival agreed the terms of the deal in November, but the merger has been held up by an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) review.
The OFT is now due to announce its findings on Wednesday, but the delay sparked suggestions from some that there could be competition concerns in the Scottish market, where Irn-Bru outsells Coca-Cola.
Yet Panmure analyst Damian McNeela believes such concerns have been exaggerated. “I can’t really see that being a hurdle for the deal, because of how strong Barr already is in Scotland,” he said. “Coca-Cola is number two, and I don’t think adding Pepsi to Barr will be seen as unfair on Coca-Cola.”