September 13/Healthcare Mergers, Acquisitions & Ventures Week -- Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. reached an agreement to acquire a minority interest in Big Red Inc., the company announced.

A privately held company based in Waco, Texas, Big Red markets its namesake red carbonated soft drink as well as Big Peach, Big Pineapple, Big Punch and other flavored soft drink brands. DPS is the largest distributor of Big Red products in the country, accounting for approximately 80% of the brand's overall case volume.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Allied brands are an important part of our overall route to market strategy, enabling us to enhance our own brand portfolio with strong regional players like Big Red whose consumer base overlaps well with our bottling and distribution footprint," said Rodger Collins, president of Dr Pepper Snapple Bottling Group. "Taking an equity stake in allied brands gives us a greater opportunity to participate in their marketing, growth and long-term success."

"Dr Pepper Snapple's bottling operations have been a key part of Big Red's success for more than 20 years, and we are very pleased to be taking our partnership with them to a new level through this agreement," said Gary Smith, chairman and CEO of Big Red Inc. "DPS is the leading flavored CSD company in the industry, which is why it makes perfect sense for them to have an equity stake in our business. We're looking forward to working with them to unleash the full potential of Big Red."

In July 2008, DPS entered into a similar agreement with HYDRIVE Energy LLC, manufacturer and marketer of HYDRIVE energy drinks. That agreement provides DPS with equity in the HYDRIVE business in exchange for meeting various distribution targets

From the September 15, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash