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Dr Pepper buys Bai for $1.7-billion, ups low calorie game

Fruity drink maker Bai Brands counts Justin Timberlake as an investor

Dr Pepper Snapple Group will pay $1.7 billion for Bai Brands, a fruity drink maker that counts pop star Justin Timberlake as an investor.

It said Tuesday that Bai will help the company expand into the low-calorie beverage market. Bai markets its drinks as having 5 calories, antioxidants and no artificial sweeteners. Dr Pepper Snapple's brands include its namesake Dr Pepper soda, A&W root beer and Canada Dry ginger ale.

Bai announced in October that Timberlake was an investor, but didn't provide financial details. The ``SexyBack'' singer said at the time that he was a fan of the drinks and would work on new flavours and marketing campaigns for the brand.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., based in Plano, Texas, expects Bai to generate about $425 million in sales next year.

The deal for the Hamilton, New Jersey, company is expected to close early next year.

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