Shares in Danone rose almost 5% today [Friday] on renewed speculation that a US group could launch a takeover bid for the French food group.

This time the rumours focused on US food group Kraft and US soft drinks and snacks giant PepsiCo, reported Reuters.

A Danone spokeswoman told Reuters the company had "no comment because there was nothing new to report."

In July, rumours that PepsiCo could be considering a bid for Danone prompted some French officials to vow to defend the French company's independence by fending off a foreign takeover bid.

But now some investors say comments by French industry minister Francois Loos suggest France could relax its stance and allow Danone to handle the situation itself.

"There are new takeover rumours. Loos gave an interview that gave the impression that they were leaving Danone on its own to sort the situation out," one trader was quoted by Reuters as saying.