Shares in Cadbury Schweppes hit a record high of 602p yesterday after the confectionery giant admitted corporate raider Nelson Peltz had acquired a 2.98% stake in the company.

“Cadbury Schweppes confirms that it has been informed by Nelson Peltz that he and certain of his affiliates have interests in 62,465,267 Cadbury Schweppes shares, representing 2.98% of Cadbury Schweppes' issued share capital,” the group said in a statement.

Analysts immediately speculated that Peltz's involvement could lead to a takeover or a break-up of the business, splitting its confectionery and drinks divisions.

According to reports in The Times, Peltz has already contacted Cadbury to set out plans to separate the company into two main businesses and Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and UBS have been instructed to prepare for a break-up.

Peltz owns a 5% stake in Heinz. Last year he won a seat on its board of directors and pushed for changes to cut costs and increase marketing.

Unions expressed concern over Peltz's intentions: “Cadbury is an iconic British brand that does not need the attention of Mr Peltz,” said Brian Revell from the T&G. “His intervention in Heinz has been a ruthless pursuit of profit for shareholders.”