Cadbury to respond to Kraft bid 'next week'

LONDON: Confectionery group Cadbury said on Monday that it will respond next week to a hostile takeover bid from US giant Kraft Foods that was posted to shareholders before the weekend.

Kraft, which has been repeatedly snubbed by management, on Friday appealed directly to Cadbury shareholders with details of its offer, worth about 10.1 billion pounds in cash and shares.

"Cadbury notes the publication by Kraft Foods Inc of its offer document to Cadbury's shareholders," the London-listed company said in a statement on Monday.

"Under US securities law, Cadbury is prohibited from publishing any further information, or making any further statement, until it has issued its formal response.

"Cadbury today announces that it will post to shareholders its formal response to Kraft's offer on Monday 14 December 2009. Cadbury will host a presentation in London for analysts and investors on that date, which will also include its regular pre-close trading update."

Shareholders now have until January 5 to accept the offer, which is worth 300 pence in cash and 0.2589 new Kraft Foods shares per Cadbury share.

Kraft, which had launched a formal takeover bid last month, is the world's second biggest snacks group after Nestle. Cadbury is meanwhile the second largest confectionery company behind Mars.

A tie-up between Kraft and Cadbury -- led by American chief executive Todd Stitzer -- would merge leading Kraft brands Oreo biscuits and Maxwell House coffee with Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate and Trident chewing gum.

US chocolate maker Hershey and Italian peer Ferrero had said last month that they were mulling bids for Cadbury, which could whip up a bidding war with Kraft.