US soft drinks giant PepsiCo has reportedly entered the fray surrounding Cadbury Schweppes' hotly-contested sale of its European soft drinks brands.

The UK-headquartered chocolate colossus is hoping to raise up to £1.1 billion ($1.97bn; €1.62bn) from the auction of brands such as Orangina and Oasis. It wants to concentrate on its more profitable confectionery and US beverage businesses.

PepsiCo, which has been busy expanding its international soda business, joins a formidable array of more than a dozen potential buyers, including US private equity group Carlyle and the UK's Cinven.

Cadbury is one of a number of large fmcg marketers considering the sale of non-core assets. Already up for auction are H J Heinz' European seafood and frozen food brands [WAMN: 22-Sept-05], while Sara Lee is in talks about its clothing business. Household products giant Unilever is also mulling the future of its European frozen foods range [WAMN: 20-Sept-05].

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff