Japanese buyers eyeing Danone's Evian, Volvic: report
France's Danone is in talks with Japanese beverage companies to sell its mineral water businesses, including the iconic Evian brand, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Suitors for Danone's bottled water brands, which could together fetch between five and seven billion dollars (3.6 to five billion euros), include Kirin, Suntory and Asahi, the paper said, citing sources close to the talks.
The reportedly "early-stage" talks may not result in a sale unless Danone, with a market value of 40 billion dollars, gets a "rich offer," the paper said.
Danone declined to comment on the report to AFP.
Japanese companies are faced with limited growth opportunities at home and so are seeking acquisitions abroad, the paper said, as Suntory did with its purchase last year of soft drink maker Orangina from Blackstone.
Danone is the world's largest bottled water seller, owning brands including Evian, Aqua, Volvic and Bonafont, and accounted for 11.7 percent of the global market in 2009.
Volvic is the most popular brand of bottled water in Japan.
Bottled water in 2009 accounted for 17 percent of Danone's turnover, or 2.58 billion of 15 billion euros.
© 2010 AFP