Cadbury Schweppes' share price rose to a two-and-a-half year high yesterday on the back of takeover speculation.

The stock market was awash with a bizarre rumour that US confectionery group Hershey's could be linking up with a private equity group to launch a bid for the British company.

Doubters pointed to the high pricetag that Cadbury would command as one reason why such a deal would not materialise.

However, the takeover talk resulted in 17 million shares changing hands yesterday as Cadbury's share price rose to 2.4% to 567p.

The rumours also rekindled speculation that Kraft Foods could re-emerge as a potential bidder for Cadbury.