Pernod-Ricard, the Paris-headquartered global drinks giant, is on the verge of selling its Orangina soft drinks business and brand name to Britain’s Cadbury Schweppes.

The $592.7 million (E700m) deal covers all Orangina activities in continental Europe, North America and Australia. Pernod also has an option to sell the brand to Cadbury in all other markets in the future.

Says Cadbury chief executive John Sunderland: “The potential acquisition of Orangina, Pampryl, Champomy and Yoo-Hoo as well as the other Pernod Ricard soft drink brands in France and other key countries would make a significant contribution to our objective of building robust and sustainable businesses in our chosen markets.”

An earlier deal in which the Orangina brand would have passed to Coca-Cola, was torpedoed by the French government in 1998, concerned at the stranglehold on the French market this would give Coke. It was also fiercely opposed by rival PepsiCo.

Meantime, a number of agencies are mulling whether a done deal will leave them winners or losers. Among the shops defending Cadbury Schweppes business while mulling an assault on Orangina brands are Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (incumbent in Belgium, India, Middle East, Saudi Arabia); TBWA Worldwide (Belgium, Central America, France, Hong Kong, UK); and Young & Rubicam Advertising (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the US).

Peering over the opposite trench are Orangina shops, all UK-based: Positive Thinking, The Media Edge and Leith Advertising.

News source: Financial Times; CampaignLive (UK)