Lucozade and Ribena
The soft drink bottles were displayed on a shelf in a shop in London April 24, 2013.

Private equity firms Blackstone and Lion Capital have teamed up to make a formal takeover bid for the Britain's iconic soft drink brands Lucozade and Ribena, Sky News reported.

Drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has put up the brands for sale in a deal worth more than a billion pounds.

GSK has been concentrating on its consumer health segment in emerging markets and has decided to divest the brands as the group found it difficult to replicate the UK success overseas.

Lucozade and Ribena have been big sellers in Britain but the soft drink brands could not fit into GSK's global portfolio.

JPMorgan and Greenhill were appointed advisers for the proposed sale while Blackstone and Lion Capital have roped in Rothschild bankers to advise them on their bid.

Both these firms earlier collaborated on the buy-out of Orangina, before selling the company to Suntory, Japan based world's largest soft drink producers, for a deal worth of £2.3bn (€2.6bn/ $3.49bn).

It has been reported that Suntory is also one of the rival bidders.

Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners, KKR, Onex and Permira are among the other companies likely to be interested in the current auction.

The move to sell the brands came after Lucozade and Ribena released their less-than-impressive first quarter results, which showed two per cent decline in combined sales, reported the sharecast.

Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, said in February that the combined sales of the brands were £600m and were "poles apart" from the £26bn growth plan of the GSK empire.

Some analysts, as reported by the Sharecast, have suggested that the decision to put the brands on sale could help earn the company in the region up to £1bn.

The private equity firm's move to bid for the energy drinks might have been inspired by the growing soft drink market in UK.

The combined category of sports and energy drinks continued to grow in UK with an increase of 5.2% in 2012 compared to the previous year according to the British Soft Drink Association.

"We are reviewing all strategic options for the Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands. This review is ongoing, all options are on the table and no decisions have been taken at this time." A GSK spokesperson told The Telegraph