Bargain for Suntory as Lucozade, Ribena brands change hands

Once upon a time you could buy a bottle of Lucozade or Ribena for a matter of pence -- old pence, that is, before the United Kingdom went over to decimal currency on D-Day, 15 February 1971, when dinosaurs roamed the land, England still had a credible football team and there were 12 pennies to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound.   The rule was simple: if you were ill, you got Lucozade to make you better; when you were well again, you got Ribena as a reward.  Now it seems the price of both these drinks has risen, given that Suntory has just paid one-and-a-third billion pounds for the two of them.  According to this BBC news item (in relevant part):
"Lucozade and Ribena sold for £1.35 bn

The Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands have been sold by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to Japanese firm Suntory for £1.35bn. Suntory already owns beverage firm Orangina Schweppes, and the deal is expected to help it expand into new markets. ...

GSK chose to get rid of the well-known UK brands after deciding to focus on its core pharmaceuticals business. Ribena and Lucozade saw combined sales totalling £600m last year, but GSK decided to offload the brands after a strategic review in April. At the time, it said the brands would be able to grow better under different ownership.

Ribena first went on sale in the 1930s, while Lucozade dates back to 1927. ...

Although well-known in the UK, both brands are less recognised abroad, particularly in the emerging economies where GSK sees its growth markets.

No artificial colours!
Suntory has sought to expand globally in recent years from its base in Japan, where it has seen sluggish growth in sales. It established its presence in Europe just four years ago with its purchase of Orangina Schweppes for 2.6bn euros (£2.2bn). The purchase of Ribena and Lucozade pre-empted a possible auction of the brands, with private equity firms, such as Blackstone and Lion Capital, and Irn-Bru maker AG Barr all reported to be considering bids. Suntory was helped by a flotation on the stock market earlier this year that raised $4bn (£2.6bn).

GSK said it expected the sale to be completed by the end of the year".
This Kat is a little puzzled as to why GSK should wish to divest itself of these two brands, which have a heritage (Ribena here; Lucozade here) and a good reputation within their present markets, which are highly distinctive, which attract a premium price over many other products and which have manifestly got plenty of growth potential, without putting them up for auction.  He feels sure that GSK would have stood a good chance of getting far more for them.

Merpel's not surprised.  She thinks that, once GSK decided to concentrate on its core pharma businesses, the company just lost interest and wanted to move on to the next thing as quickly as possible. With a market capitalisation a year ago of nearly £75 bn, it will hardly notice the disappearance of a couple of misfit brands that between them can muster an annual income of only £600 million.

How to remove Ribena stains here
How to remove Lucozade stains -- or not -- here
Bargain for Suntory as Lucozade, Ribena brands change hands Bargain for Suntory as Lucozade, Ribena brands change hands Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, September 09, 2013 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. But they still have Maximuscle, so I am guessing it is more about profitability.


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