The Business Secretary was speaking after workers at Cadbury’s Birmingham base launched a campaign aimed at blocking Kraft’s £10.3bn hostile takeover bid for the Dairy Milk maker.
Lord Mandelson says although it is important that Kraft or any other potential acquirers respected the company’s heritage and workforce, he had no statutory power to intervene in this case.
His comments followed the tabling of an early day motion in the Commons by a group of West Midlands MPs showing their support for Cadbury and expressing their concern over Kraft’s record of plant closures and job losses in the past ten years.
Cadbury has rejected Kraft’s bid, labelling the offer as “derisory” and an attempt “to buy Cadbury on the cheap” in a defence document unveiled earlier this week.
Kraft Foods hit back, claiming Cadbury’s shareholders would be “taking a risk” if they support Cadbury as a standalone company.
Both Ferrero and Hershey have both expressed interest in a bid for Cadbury, but have yet to submit either independent or joint bids. Hershey was believed to be raising finance to launch a £10.3bn offer with Ferrero.