Two investment banks have questioned the likelihood that Scottish & Newcastle will find a merger or takeover partner.

The investment bank Cazenove has reiterated its "underperform" rating on the UK-based brewer.

Analysts said that the stock had rallied on speculation of a takeover bid, compounded by short covering.

But Cazenove said that the list of potential suitors was slim, with both SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch unlikely to consider the brewer.

The feeling was reiterated by analysts at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein who pointed to competition and financing hurdles for fellow European brewers such as InBev, Heineken and Carlsberg.

Dresdner added that Anheuser-Busch would not want to dilute its growth rate, whilst SABMiller would have no major overlap.

Dresdner maintained a 'sell' rating on the stock.