A US judge has reportedly revoked the sale of LeNature’s bottling plant in Pennsylvania to retail group Giant Eagle.

According to local reports, a federal judge overturned the deal after ruling Giant Eagle acted in bad faith during the auction to buy the plant.

Earlier this month, the privately-owned retailer, which operates owned and franchised supermarkets and convenience stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland, won an auction for the site with a bid of US$20m.

However, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, US Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough awarded the plant to rival bidder Cadbury Schweppes.

The judge acted after bankruptcy trustee R. Todd Neilson requested that Giant Eagle’s purchase be revoked, the report said.

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The trustee cited a letter from Giant Eagle in which the company told Cadbury that it would no longer buy 15 of the company’s brands.

Giant Eagle has reportedly denied its decision to discontinue selling Cadbury’s brands was linked to the battle to buy the bottling plant.

In a further twist, Cadbury is reportedly no longer interested in buying the bottling plant, which is based in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Giant Eagle plans to appeal, the report added.