March 13, 2018 / 5:11 PM / 5 days ago

Major Dr Pepper Snapple shareholder may sell stake ahead of Keurig merger

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - One of soda-maker Dr Pepper Snapple’s largest shareholders has said it may sell its shares in the business ahead of a proposed merger with Keurig Green Mountain, questioning the logic of the deal.

Keurig agreed on Jan. 29 to offer $18.7 billion in cash a stake in the enlarged company to combine with Dr Pepper Snapple and form a North American drinks company, with brands such as Green Mountain Coffee, 7UP, Snapple and Sunkist.

But some investors have questioned the logic of combining the hot and cold drinks businesses.

Michael Lindsell, co-founder of London-based Lindsell Train, Dr Pepper Snapple’s 9th largest shareholder, said in a letter to investors he was considering selling the firm’s stake valued at more than $380 million, according to Reuters calculations.

“We are yet to be persuaded of the compatibility of the businesses. To us distribution of single serve coffee is very different from canned or bottled beverages,” he said in his first comments since the deal was announced.

“No doubt there are some scale benefits and in particular overlapping costs that can be eliminated, but we have yet to be persuaded that we want to be an enthusiastic holder of the combined business which has at least initially a huge overhang of debt.”

Dr Pepper did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Alasdair Pal Editing by Mark Potter)

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