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SNAPPED UP

Is Snapple Beverage in play? On Oct. 21, its stock popped up 17%, to 1411/16, on rumors that Seagram, Quaker Oats, or PepsiCo were possible acquirors of the iced-tea company. The companies declined to comment. A deal with Seagram, which doesn't sell iced-tea, could make sense. But William Newbury, an analyst at College Retirement Equities Fund, which owns Seagram and Snapple shares, cautions that "tea is a product that anybody can make," and that any acquiror would have to compete with Coke and Pepsi. Investor Thomas Lee, whose firm holds 47% of Snapple, likely would be happy to sell --particularly at $25 a share, which consultants say is Snapple's asking price.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS


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