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Cadbury to spin off beverage unit

October 11, 2007|From the Associated Press

london -- Cadbury Schweppes appeared to end months of speculation about the future of its U.S. beverage business, announcing Wednesday that it would spin off the maker of Snapple and Dr Pepper rather than sell it.

Cadbury said it would issue shares to its own shareholders and list the business, Americas Beverages, on the New York Stock Exchange after faltering credit markets made a sale difficult.

However, Chief Executive Todd Stitzer left the door open a crack to a potential sale, should debt markets improve. "I think anything is possible in today's financial world," he said.

Stitzer said that although a sale would have been closed "quickly and cleanly" and allowed for a large return of cash to shareholders, a spinoff "provides roughly the same amount of value." He did not disclose terms.

Cadbury said it did not expect to complete the split before the second quarter of 2008.

The future of the U.S. beverage business has been up in the air since earlier this year when Cadbury came under pressure from investors led by U.S. billionaire Nelson Peltz to separate its candy and drinks arms.

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