PepsiCo has refused to comment on reports linking the company with a bid for Cadbury Schweppes' soft drink business.

Reports in France suggested that PepsiCo had teamed up with French private equity group PAI Partners on a joint bid for the Cadbury Schweppes arm. However, a PepsiCo spokesman declined to comment on the reports.

Three private equity funds - PAI, Permira and Blackstone - are said to have made firm offers for Cadbury's Orangina, Schweppes and Pampryl businesses

Cadbury Schweppes officials were unavailable for comment as just-drinks went to press.