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BOSTON - The growers who own Ocean Spray Inc. have narrowly rejected PepsiCo Inc.'s offer to acquire half its branded business, The Associated Press reports.
Ocean Spray officials said in a statement that the vote means the board of directors "will cease all talks with PepsiCo and other potential equity investors, focusing all efforts instead on working with management to build the Ocean Spray business for the future."
The vote does not preclude the board from talking to other companies about opportunities that would grow the Ocean Spray brand, so long as the cooperative remains independent.
PepsiCo spokesman Mark Dollins told the AP his company was disappointed.
"As evidenced by this very close vote, change is always difficult, especially when considering a fundamental change in how the long-standing co-op and its brand could be managed," Dollins said.
Ocean Spray's board had spent more than a year exploring a range of partnerships that would help its juice products reach a wider audience.
Early last year, Ocean Spray rejected an $800 million offer for its juice business from Northland Cranberries Inc.