UK-based confectionery and drinks giant Cadbury Schweppes confirmed yesterday that it had expressed "an exploratory interest" in parts of Nabisco, the US food group that owns brands such as Lifesavers candy, Oreo cookies and Planters nuts.

Another potential suitor is French dairy, water and snacks group Danone, and Philip Morris, owner of Kraft Foods, is also believed to have submitted an offer.

Cadbury, currently in acquisitive mode, issued its statement in response to speculation about its interest in the US group which recently put itself up for auction.. It said that "parts of the Nabisco business operate in similar markets", but stressed that its exploration was "at a very preliminary stage".

News source: Financial Times