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GSK sells Lucozade, Ribena to Japan's Suntory

LONDON (AP) - GlaxoSmithKline says it has sold its line of Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands to Suntory of Japan as part of the British company's effort to focus on its core pharmaceutical and health-care businesses.

Glaxo said Monday that it had agreed to sell the two brands to the Japanese consumer goods group for 1.35 billion pounds ($2.12 billion).

Ribena's blackcurrant drink dates back to 1938 and was distributed freely during World War II as a source of Vitamin C. Lucozade, originally known as Glucozade, was launched in in 1927 as an aid to recovery aid before becoming popular as a sports drink.

Osaka-based Suntory is known for producing Japan's first whiskey. It runs a series of subsidiaries whose concerns include food, supplements, flowers, and fitness.

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