Cola giant PepsiCo is all set to acquire Russian dairy products and fruit-juice maker Wimm-Bill-Dann for at least USD 5 billion, according to a media report.
Quoting people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal said the deal -- one of the biggest foreign investments in Russia outside the energy sector -- is expected to be announced on Thursday.
Wimm-Bill-Dann, dominates Russia's dairy market along with Unimilk, controlled by Danone SA. It is also number three in juice and number one in baby food, has long been seen as an acquisition target.
The deal marks PepsiCo's second big foray into the Russian market, after a USD 1.4 billion deal in 2008 to buy control of juice producer Lebedyansky.
Coca-Cola Co made a similar deal in 2005 when it bought Multon Co, a Russian juice maker.
The deal symbolises the recent trend in Thursday's mergers and acquisitions space, wherein large companies in slow-growth Western markets looking to acquire faster-growing operations in emerging markets, the daily said.
Earlier this year, beer maker Heineken NV agreed to buy Mexico's Femsa Cerveza for about USD 7 billion.
The price Pepsi is paying would mark a significant premium on the Russian group's current share price. Brokers were estimating a maximum valuation of USD 4 billion in any purchase of Wimm-Bill-Dann as recently as October, it said.