Up to eight private equity groups are thought to have made it through to the second round of bidding in the fight for control of Cadbury Schweppes European drinks business.

According to a report by Dow Jones, which quoted people familiar with the matter, those already readying second round bids include New York-based Blackstone Group, working with London-headquartered Lion Capital; US-based Bain Capital, PAI Partners, of Paris, Cinven Group Ltd., of London, and Permira, also based in London.

The European private equity firms Charterhouse Development Capital and CVC Capital Partners Ltd also made it through the initial round of offers in October, the report said.

The board of Cadbury Schweppes confirmed its intention to sell its Europe Beverages business in September. Estimates suggest the business could fetch around GBP1bn.