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Cadbury to Kraft: Put up or shut up

Marketplace Staff Sep 22, 2009
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Cadbury to Kraft: Put up or shut up

Marketplace Staff Sep 22, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: The chocolate company Cadbury is now appealing to a U.K. regulator for help in its battle with Kraft. The American food giant is after Cadbury with a $16 billion takeover bid. From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard has the latest.


Stephen Beard: Cadbury has asked the British Takeover Panel to intervene. It wants the panel to impose a deadline on Kraft, forcing the American company to make a formal offer to Cadbury’s shareholders by a certain date or drop the bid. In effect, to put up or shut up.

Fundmanager Justin Urquart-Stewart says the panel has the legal power to make such an order and will likely use it:

Justin Urquart-Stewart: They want to make sure that companies don’t have predator companies hanging over them like vultures for months on end and thus almost unable to carry out their business, knowing that someone is watching over their shoulder to see if they make one mistake and they get pounced on.

He says a deadline — possibly the end of next month — could flush out a higher bid from a rival confectioner like Nestle or Hershey. Or a better offer from Kraft itself. Last night, Cadbury’s chief executive left that door open. He was quoted saying in the U.S. that combining with Kraft would make “some strategic sense.”

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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