OFT tipped to approve Barr-Britvic deal

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.

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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.”