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PepsiCo and the Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) are to jointly acquire
PepsiCo and the Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) are to jointly acquire a 75.5% stake in the Russian Lebedyansky juice company for $1.4 billion, the company said on its website on Thursday.

The shares will be purchased from Lebedyansky's four largest individual shareholders, excluding the company's baby food and mineral water business, which will be spun off to the Russian juice maker's shareholders. The purchase will be split 75% / 25% by PepsiCo and PBG, respectively.

Lebedyansky is the world's sixth-largest juice manufacturer and the largest in Russia, with an estimated market share in Russia of around 30% and annual revenues in 2007 of approximately $800 million from its juice business, according to the PepsiCo news release.

"Russia represents our biggest growth market, and we are making smart investments that further enhance our business there," Eric Foss, President & CEO of The Pepsi Bottling Group said on PepsiCo's website. "Adding Lebedyansky's strong brands and capable people to the powerful PBG-PepsiCo partnership will enable us to be at the forefront of the continued expansion of the Russian juice category."

The deal is not expected to be completed before the third quarter of 2008, the world's second-largest beverage producer said on its website. PepsiCo has already filed an application for approval of the deal by Russia's antimonopoly regulator.

The four sellers of the Lebedyansky stake said they were now planning to concentrate exclusively on the production of baby food and mineral water. The current chairman of Lebedyansky's board of directors, Yury Bortsov, is expected to hold a similar position in the new company.

According to an independent assessment, Lebedyansky's baby food and mineral water business is worth $326 million, excluding net debt, which stood at $75 million as of December 31, 2007.

Pepsi has had a presence in Russia since 1974, when it opened a factory in the southern Russian city of Novorossiysk, making Pepsi the first Western company to produce its products in the then U.S.S.R.

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