Kraft launches £9.8bn hostile bid for Cadbury

Kraft Foods has formally launched a £9.8bn hostile bid for Cadbury just a few hours before the imposed deadline.

Dairy Milk

The bid was rejected immediately by the board of the Dairy Milk maker, which described it as a “derisory” offer that undervalued the company.

The US food maker’s bid is unchanged from September when it offered 300 pence and 0.2589 new Kraft shares for each Cadbury share. It will now approach shareholders directly.

The deal is worth less than the £10.2bn approach in September because Kraft shares have decreased in value following a recent drop in quarterly revenues.

Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive of Kraft, says the deal offers Cadbury and its shareholders “the best immediate and long-term” value, particularly when compared with any other option currently available, “including Cadbury remaining independent”.

The UK Takeover Panel had set a “put up or shut up” deadline of 5pm.

The Cadbury board says it has “emphatically rejected this derisory offer”, adding it “does not come remotely close to reflecting the true value of our company” and is recommending shareholders also dismiss the deal.

The resolve of the Cadbury board will have been strengthened by Kraft’s third quarter results, which saw the Dairylea and Capri-Sun maker report a 5.7% drop in sales for the three months to the end of September.

In contrast, the British confectionery company posted a 7% increase for the third quarter.

Kraft also owns the Kenco, Oreo, Jacobs and Toblerone brands while Cadbury makes Trident chewing gum, Green & Black’s and Caramel bars.

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