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Coke seeks approval to buy Russia's Nidan

Coca-Cola Co, the world's largest soft-drinks maker, has applied for Russian regulator approval to buy into juicemaker Nidan Soki, sources said on Thursday, as it seeks to challenge rival PepsiCo's market dominance.

In January, sources familiar with the deal said Coca-Cola was considering buying a controlling stake in Nidan from private equity group Lion Capital.

If successful, the deal would push Coca-Cola to number one in the Russian juice market, leapfrogging PepsiCo, which together with Pepsi Bottling Group Inc owns Russia's largest juice maker, Lebedyansky.

Coca-Cola already has a significant stake in the Russian juice market through Multon, which has a nearly 22% market share, according to research group Business Analitika.

“All the necessary agreements have been reached. It remains to get approval from FAS (Federal Anti-monopoly Service),” a source close to the U.S. beverage giant told Reuters.

The source said that Coca-Cola was hoping to get approval in a 3- to 9-month period.

A FAS source confirmed the regulator had received an application from Coca-Cola.

“We are interested in buying Nidan,” Coca-Cola's spokesman Vladimir Kravtsov said. (Reuters)