Rumours are circling that Cadbury Schweppes' soft drinks business may be merged with Britvic.

The speculation follows a story in the UK's Sunday Express that private equity firm KKR is looking at Cadbury Schweppes' soft drinks business and considering merging it with Britvic, which it intends to acquire from joint owners Intercontinental Hotels, Allied Domecq, Whitbread and PepsiCo International.

Britvic has so far dismissed the rumours, saying that it has no intention of doing a deal and that it is committed to plans announced last year for an IPO sometime between now and 2008.

Britvic is owned by Intercontinental Hotels Group, Allied Domecq, Whitbread and PepsiCo.

When contacted by just-drinks, a spokeswoman for Cadbury Schweppes in the UK declined to comment on the report.