Permira has acquired a major stake in UK-based soft drinks company Britvic.

The private equity group's purchase, which took its holding in Britvic to 13.98%, was made through Permira's wholly-owned subsidiary Snowdon Acquisitions and was confirmed to the markets yesterday (19 December).

Britvic's announcement confirmed speculation earlier this week that Permira was looking to up its stake, although reports that French insurance group AXA was the seller have proved wrong. In a separate statement, Britvic said that AXA still holds a 13.99% stake.

In October, Permira quelled rumours that it was looking to take over Britvic following speculation that it was poised to make a move. The group said that it reserved the right to "make or participate in an offer within the next six months" if recommended by the Britvic board or if a third party made a bid.

Britvic has found the going tough since it listed last December. Just two months after flotation, Britvic shocked investors with a profit warning, and the company's share price promptly tumbled 23%. The spokesperson noted that the company has lined up some innovations for the still drinks sector, which will be unveiled in February.