Britain's Competition Commission on Tuesday gave the green light to a merger of soft drinks groups Britvic and A.G. Barr, but the future of the deal appears unclear.
"The CC has concluded that the proposed acquisition is not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition and would not cause wholesale prices to increase significantly," the watchdog said in its provisional findings into the deal.
The pair last November agreed to merge and form a new European giant with annual sales of more than £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion, 1.8 billion euros).
However, in February the tie-up lapsed because of delays after the deal was referred by the Office of Fair Trading to the Competition Commission.
Under British takeover rules, Britvic and A.G. Barr are barred from announcing a new merger deal until the CC issues its final report in late July.
However, Britvic hinted on Tuesday that the merger deal might not go ahead.
"Our company is in a different place to last summer when the terms of the merger were agreed," said Britvic chairman Gerald Corbett.
"The cost savings from merging are less, we are performing better, we have new management and we have a new strategy to deliver good growth internationally as well as in the UK.
"These are among the issues the board will reflect on in August once the CC's conclusions are known in order to ensure that it acts in the best interests of Britvic's shareholders."
Scotland-based A.G. Barr is famed for making fizzy drink Irn-Bru. It also produces other carbonated drinks such as Orangina and Tizer, as well as Rubicon exotic juices.
Britvic meanwhile produces Fruit Shoot, J20 and Robinsons juices, as well as fizzy drink Tango and Lipton Ice Tea.
Britvic also has exclusive bottling agreements with Pepsi in Britain and Ireland to manufacture and distribute Pepsi, Pepsi Max and 7UP.
Under the terms of the deal, the merger would create a new company called Barr Britvic Soft Drinks PLC. Britvic would own 63 percent of the new group, with the rest held by A.G. Barr.