Bankers are playing down media speculation that Kraft Foods, the world’s second-largest food group, is considering making a bid for United Biscuits (UB) of the UK.

Share in Kraft fell 2% on Monday following a report in the weekend newspaper The Business that suggested Kraft approached UB with a buyout bid that valued it at up to £2.4bn (US$3.52bn). Sources close to Kraft denied knowledge of any bid.

Both Kraft and Cinven (the private equity firm which co-led the €2.9bn buyout of UB from Danone in 2000) declined to comment. UB’s other shareholders were also unavailable for comment.

Bankers are reported as saying that while the UB brands may well interest Kraft, their owners would not be looking to sell at this time. Sources close to UB deemed it more likely its owners would seek to expand operations over the next year or two and then sell it on.

Kraft already owns a 26.51% stake in UB via its takeover of fellow biscuit group Nabisco. This gives Kraft the right to match any bids for UB submitted by other parties.