British beverage and candy giant Cadbury Schweppes and a partner have agreed to buy Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Texas for $283 million. Cadbury plans to merge the bottler with its own bottling company to form the largest independent soft-drink bottler in the United States. Cadbury and a Washington investment firm, Carlyle Group, also agreed to assume about $408 million in debt. The two companies plan to merge the Texas bottler with their own American Bottling Co., based in Darien, Ill. Cadbury's soft drinks include Schweppes, Dr Pepper, 7-Up, Canada Dry, A&W root beer and Sunkist. The company uses independent bottlers, such as Dr Pepper Bottling of Texas, to produce its beverages. Carlyle owns 60% of American Bottling, with Cadbury holding the other 40%. They created the company two years ago to distribute soft drinks in the Midwest, but it has had trouble meeting demand for its products. Cadbury's American depositary receipts closed up $1.13 at $26.50 on the NYSE.