AG Barr, the producer of Irn-Bru and Tizer, is understood to be preparing a bid for soft drinks giant Britvic.
The Glasgow-based group is said to be seeking financial backing after expressing an interest in buying the business.
It joins other potential bidders who have looked at a deal since a memorandum of sale document was issued two weeks ago.
Bids are expected to reach as much as £500m for Britvic, which makes Tango, R Whites lemonade and Britvic J20 and distributes Pepsi in the UK.
For some time, the most likely buyer has been seen to be Pepsi, which owns a 10 per cent stake in the business, but others are thought to include drinks groups Matthew Clark and the Irish-based Cantrell & Cochrane.
Another drinks company said to be interested is Cadbury Schweppes, which distributes its brands in the UK through a joint venture with Coca-Cola.
Private equity firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, which has been looking for deals in the pub or drinks industry for some time, has also considered a bid.
The remaining 90 per cent of Britvic is owned by Britannia Soft Drinks. This is owned jointly by Bass, which has a 50 per cent stake, and Whitbread and Allied Domecq, which each own 25 per cent.
Bass and Whitbread have confirmed they are interested in selling Britvic after disposing of their drinks businesses last year. Allied Domecq has also said it wants to focus on its global wine and spirits brands.
Bids of up to £500m expected for Britvic (May 29, 2001)