MOSCOW - Coca-Cola Co is considering buying a controlling stake in Russian juice maker Nidan Soki from London-based private equity group Lion Capital, sources familiar with the deal participants said on Thursday.
The deal would allow Coca-Cola, the world's largest soft drink maker, to take over a leading position on the Russian juice market from rival Pepsi, which owns a 75.5 percent stake in Russia's largest juice maker, Lebedyansky.
Lion Capital bought a 75 percent stake in Russia's fourth-largest juice maker in 2007 and is now offering to sell it, two sources close to Nidan Soki told Reuters.
Coca-Cola is one of the pretenders, a source close to the deal participants said.
Another source, familiar with Lion Capital's plans, said that the fund had been looking for a buyer since November 2009, adding that the deal between Nidan and Coca-Cola is very likely this year.
Coca-Cola owns Russian juice maker Multon, through which it controls nearly 22 percent of the Russian juice market, according to research group Business Analitika.
Pepsi has a 32 percent market share, Wimm-Bill-Dann has 19 percent and Nidan Soki has a 14 percent share.
Coca-Cola declined to comment.
(Reporting by Maria Plis and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Hans Peters)