Premier Foods' proposed acquisition of the UK arm of the US-based Campbell Soup Company has thrown the UK future of the iconic Campbell's Condensed soup brand into doubt.

As part of the £460m deal, which will see the company buy the Oxo, Fray Bentos, Homepride and Batchelors brands, Premier will get a two-year licence to make and market Campbell's soup in the UK.

After that time, the licence will be repatriated to Campbell's in the US, leaving the fate of the product made famous by Andy Warhol uncertain in the UK.

At Campbell's HQ in the US, a spokesman said that the soup brand's future as a global brand was assured. He would not comment on plans for in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Premier said: "The plans are to hold the licence for two years after which it will then repatriate to Campbell's.

"The Campbell's brand only accounts for 10% of Campbell's UK sales.

"The intention is to migrate the soups under the Batchelors brand."

Andrew Saunders, manufacturing analyst at Numis Securities, said he believed Campbell's soup's days were numbered. "The brand has failed to gain market share and become accepted outside of the US."

But Chris Grantham, brand consultant at Dragon, said: "I think that Premier Foods has the vision to take it places."

Campbell's Condensed products recorded a drop of 7.4% in sales in The Grocer's 2005 Top Products Survey, and the brand was delisted from all Sainsbury's stores two months ago.

Meanwhile, Premier was still expected to table a bid for UBUK in the wake of the sale of UB's Southern European business to Kraft.

Kraft has surrendered its pre-emptive rights to match any rival bid for the UK business, paving the way for Premier to make a solo bid. Speculation has been further fuelled by Premier's decision to over-fund the Campbell's deal.