Allied Domecq, Bass and Whitbread are ready to sell Britvic, their jointly-owned soft drink producer and the British distributor of Pepsi.

The three, all former national brewing companies, own stakes in a holding company, Britannia, which owns 90% of Britvic.

After Bass and Whitbread left the brewing business to concentrate respectively on hotels and pubs, and restaurants, and Allied Domecq decided to focus on its spirits business, the three now want to divest themselves of Britvic.

Pepsi is understood to be in discussion with its partners about buying some of the assets, including bottling assets or brands such as Tango and Robinsons.

However, Pepsi said: "We have been divesting bottling assets. Without ruling anything out would be counter-intuitive to what we have been doing."

Pepsi would have to approve any sale to an outsider.

The three food and leisure companies are thought to have asked Schroder Salomon Smith Barney to help sell the business, valued at £300m two years ago. It has since improved profits.