PARIS-As this issue was going to press, Reuters reported that rumors about PepsiCo, considering a takeover bid for French food group Danone, might have been off the mark. Pepsi told the French market regulator AMF that it was not in fact preparing a takeover.

French newspaper Les Echos said it had been told by AMF that PepsiCo had informed the market regulator that "it was not preparing any such operation at the moment."

Rumors of a bid pushed Danone's shares up more than 20% in the middle of July.

The possibility of Danone being the subject of a takeover from a U.S. firm also prompted French politicians, including President Jacques Chirac, to issue a string of warnings against any such move.