Up to 12 private equity groups, set to make up at least three consortiums, have reportedly shown interest in the Cadbury business, a report in the Financial Times says. The news increases speculation that Cadbury may spin-off the drinks arm, including the Dr Pepper and 7UP brands, after splitting the division from its confectionery business earlier this year. Two consortiums have emerged to prepare bids, the FT report said. One is thought to contain Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Lion Capital, and the other Bain Capital, Texas Pacific and Thomas H Lee. The only drinks firm to have confirmed its interest so far has been Canada-based Cott Corporation, the world's largest private label soft drinks maker. Cott said it had been approached by other interested parties over Cadbury's Americas Beverages division, and was "exploring the potential benefits of participating in possible industry consolidation". Cadbury's decision to split its business comes after the firm last year sold its European soft drinks division to private equity for £1.4bn. It kept the US division, referring to this privately as a 'cash cow' for the confectionery business. Julian Lakin, analyst at Mirabaud Securities, told BeverageDaily.com after this year's split that some private equity groups could be interested in the relatively strong cash flow of the US drinks division.