Dr Pepper Snapple Group in talks to buy antioxidant beverage company Bai Brands

Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc is in talks to buy antioxidant beverage company Bai Brands, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Reuters had reported that Bai was exploring a sale, and Dr Pepper Snapple, which holds a minority stake, would be willing to pay as much as $1.5 billion.

Dr Pepper Snapple, which distributes Bai products, would not like the New Jersey-based company falling in the hands to its rivals like Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc.

Bai is talking to several others also ahead of bids being submitted for an auction of the company, the report said.

Founded in 2009 by entrepreneur and coffee industry pioneer Ben Weiss who was inspired by the coffee fruit, an anti-oxidant rich plant which is typically a farming fertilizer after the coffee bean is harvested.

Bai has grown steadily and expended in the US after it teamed up with Dr Pepper Snapple to distribute its products that are now sold at Target, Safeway and others.

Bai has raised $45 million in funding through angel investors and Dr Pepper Snapple acquired a minority stake in the company in 2015 at a $500 million valuation.

Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple, spun off from Cadbury Plc in 2008 is one of North America's leading refreshment beverage companies.

It markets more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, juices, teas, mixers, waters and other premium beverages.

In addition to its flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, its portfolio includes 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Clamato, Crush, Hawaiian Punch, Mott's, Mr & Mrs T mixers, Penafiel, Rose's, Schweppes, Squirt and Sunkist soda.