Soft drinks merger referred

A £1.4BN deal to merge Robinsons squash maker Britvic, which has factories in Yorkshire, and Irn-Bru owner AG Barr has been referred to the Competition Commission.

The Office of Fair Trading said it could not rule out the possibility of higher prices following a tie-up after surveys suggested Britvic’s brands Pepsi and Tango were sufficiently close alternatives to Irn-Bru to raise competition concerns.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Amelia Fletcher, OFT chief economist, said: “The soft drinks industry is an important one for many consumers in Great Britain.”

She added: “This merger will see the UK market reduce from three to two main players.”