Judge approves Cadbury Schweppes/Giant Eagle deal for LeNature

PITTSBURGH U.S. bankruptcy Judge Bruce McCullough on Tuesday approved a settlement that permits Cadbury Schweppes Beverages to buy the bankrupt LeNature’s bottling plant for a sum of $19 million, the winning bid, and then sell it to Giant Eagle.

Giant Eagle had initially won the bid for LeNature’s bottling plant for $20 million, but that bid had been revoked after it had been determined that Giant Eagle may have intimidated Cadbury during the bidding process by threatening to stop selling 15 of Cadbury Schweppes' soft drinks and teas in its stores.

Giant Eagle will now pay a total of $23.25 million for the bottling plant, $2.25 million of which will go to LeNature's bankruptcy estate for distribution among the owners of equipment in the Latrobe bottling plant. That payment settles the legal dispute with LeNature's court-appointed trustee, who had earlier threatened to sue both Cadbury Schweppes and Giant Eagle if Giant Eagle purchased the plant from Cadbury.

Giant Eagle also loses the $2 million deposit it had made as part of the initial bidding process.

The plant will reopen under the name Chestnut Ridge Beverage Co., the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported.