TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's Suntory Holdings said Thursday it's in talks to buy European drink maker Orangina from private equity firms Blackstone and Lion Capital.
Suntory said nothing had been decided, but public broadcaster NHK TV reported, without citing sources, that a deal worth about 250 billion yen ($2.7 billion) could come later this month.
Orangina was acquired in 2006 by Blackstone Group of the U.S. and London-based Lion Capital LLP as part of a 1.85 billion euro deal -- worth $2.19 billion at that time -- for Cadbury Schweppes PLC's European soft drink business.
Blackstone and Lion Capital confirmed they were in talks with Suntory "regarding the future ownership of the Orangina Schweppes Group." But they said in a statement that no agreement has been made.
Suntory is already negotiating to merge with larger Japanese rival Kirin Holdings Co., which would create one of the world's largest food and drinks companies.
Japanese media reports said Suntory was eager to acquire Orangina -- which bottles and distributes its trademark sparkling orange beverage -- partly to boost its value and strengthen its position in talks with Kirin.
Japanese drink makers have been eager to expand overseas because the domestic market is largely saturated.
Earlier this year, Kirin said it was taking control of Australian brewer Lion Nathan Ltd., and bought nearly half of San Miguel Brewery Inc. of the Philippines.