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(PEP) - Get PepsiCo Inc. Report

plans to sell some of its

Pepsi Bottling Group


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shares as early as this year in order to return its holding in the company to 40%, the level established at the time of the bottler's initial public offering in March 1999.

PepsiCo's holdings have since risen by more than 2% from its original ownership level.

Pepsi Bottling, which is based in Somers, N.Y., said it "strongly endorses" the move by PepsiCo, which is related to the bottler's own repurchasing of shares. Pepsi Bottling repurchased 10 million common shares through last year and plans to buy back an additional 5 million shares this year.

Shares of Pepsi Bottling fell 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $41.77, and PepsiCo dropped $1.13, or 2.3%, to $47.37 in recent

New York Stock Exchange