Cadbury turns down £10.2bn bid

Cadbury rejected a £10.2bn cash and shares bid from Kraft Foods in the US, sparking talk of a bidding war with the prospect of Nestlé and Hershey making a joint move being mooted.

Kraft made its initial proposal on 28 August after a meeting earlier that day between Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft chairman and chief executive, and Roger Carr, chairman of Cadbury.

“This proposed combination is about growth,” said Rosenfeld in a statement. “As we have done, Cadbury has built wonderful brands by focusing on quality, innovation and marketing, but we believe the next stage in Cadbury’s development will be challenging, given the increased importance of scale in the industry.”

Cadbury said its “strong brands, unique category and geographic scope” left it confident of its future as a standalone firm. The company employs about 45,000 people in 60 countries and is seeing much of its growth in emerging markets such as India and Russia.

According to a Reuters report in late September, Kraft Foods plans to hold further talks with Cadbury that may lead to a new bid offer. Irene Rosenfeld: “In the weeks ahead, we look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with the board and management of Cadbury,” said Kraft chief executive, Irene Rosenfeld, during a speech to business students in Toronto.

She said the company would continue to assess the opportunity and consider progressing to a formal offer, correcting an earlier statement that talks may result in a ‘final’ offer.