Cadbury Warms to Kraft Bid, Pushes for Deadline

Last Updated Sep 22, 2009 12:44 PM EDT

Cadbury chairman Roger Carr recently called Kraft an "unattractive," "low-growth conglomerate," but CEO Todd Stitzer apparently has a much better view of the company. "I would never say there's not some strategic sense in these businesses coming together," Stitzer told the Wall Street Journal.

Kraft recently announced a surprise $16.7 billion bid for the British chocolate and confectionery company, which Cadbury rejected. But the bid has not been made official yet, and Cadbury now wants the U.K. Panel on Takeovers and Mergers to set a deadline for Kraft to either make a formal offer or back off (or, as Marketplace so eloquently put it, to "put up or shut up"). The takeover panel has the authority to do this, but usually it doesn't happen so quickly.

There has been some speculation as to how Kraft would finance a takeover, especially since most seem to believe Kraft would have to offer more cash for the bid to be successful. There have also been rumors about possible competing offers, and Hershey consulted some high-profile bankers on the issue, but so far nothing has come of it.

Broker Execution Limited called the Kraft-Cadbury battle a "phony war" and basically said both companies are bluffing. "Kraft says its offer is fair and true while Cadbury asserts it has a viable independent future," it said. "Neither situation is tenable."

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  • Katherine Glover