London: Cadbury PLC, the world’s biggest candy maker, said Wednesday that it has reached a conditional agreement to sell its Australian drinks business to Asahi Breweries, Ltd. for £550 million ($808 million).
The agreement between Cadbury and Asahi is subject to a right of negotiation with Coca-Cola, which can negotiate a potential acquisition of Schweppes Australia until March 2009.
The company had been considering the future of Schweppes Australia since May, when as the former Cadbury Schweppes it divested its U.S. drinks operation. That business has since become Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc.
The decision to sell the Australian business was announced in a trading update earlier this month, the company said in a regulatory announcement to the London Stock Exchange.
Cadbury said that if Coca-Cola made an offer on the business, it would “carefully consider such offer, including the price and likelihood of receiving necessary regulatory and other consents.” If it does not reach an agreement with Coca-Cola, then Cadbury’s agreement with Asahi will be binding.
Shares in the Cadbury fell 0.93% to 586 pence.