Sussex cider maker Merrydown has been sold for £36m to the Ireland-based SHS group, which owns the WKD and Woody’s drinks brands.

Sales in 2003 for SHS totalled £255m with profits at £19.2m. The company also owns Douwe Egberts coffee, Cobra beer and Tropicana fruit juice, and it already had an 11% stake in Merrydown.

Shares in Merrydown, which makes the Shloer soft fruit drink and Merrydown cider brands, shot up 14% as terms of the 170p-a-share deal with SHS Group were announced.