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Sodastream in talks to sell up to 16 percent stake: report

Employees pack boxes of the SodaStream product at the factory in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim January 28, 2014. REUTERS/A
Employees pack boxes of the SodaStream product at the factory in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim January 28, 2014. REUTERS/A

(Reuters) - At-home soda maker Sodastream International is in early talks to sell a stake of up to 16 percent to a strategic entity, Israeli financial news daily Calcalist reported on its website.

U.S. shares of Sodastream rose as much as 12 percent to $42.25 on Wednesday after the website identified PepsiCo Inc, Dr Pepper Snapple Group or Starbucks Co as the potential investors in the Israel-based company.

The website did not cite any sources for its information.

The price being discussed values Sodastream at about $1.1 billion, Calcalist said. The valuation reflects a share price of $52, compared with Sodastream's closing price of $37.64 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

More than a third of the company's shares are held by short-sellers.

The Hebrew language website said there were still differences between the parties over the type of deal that would be carried out. (http://r.reuters.com/zuw58v)

Sodastream spokesman Yonah Lloyd said the company would not comment on market rumors. PepsiCo, Dr Pepper and Starbucks also declined to comment.

The potential investor is interested in receiving an option to increase its stake in the future and eventually gain control of the company, Calcalist said.

Coca-Cola Co bought a 10 percent stake in Keurig Green Mountain Inc in February to jointly develop a new cold drink machine, putting pressure on Sodastream to bolster its position through a partnership or merger with a leading drinks players.

In June last year, Calcalist reported that PepsiCo had made an offer through Goldman Sachs to buy Sodastream for $2 billion. PepsiCo said the report was untrue.

Sodastream's shares, which have fallen more than 20 percent in the past 12 months, were up 8 percent at $40.72 in morning trading on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Tova Cohen in Tel Aviv, Siddharth Cavale and Mridhula Ragahavan in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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