Nestlé emerges as next bidder for Cadbury
British confectioner Cadbury, renowned for Dairy Milk chocolate, saw its shares rise today on the back of speculation that Swiss food group, Nestlé, is to be the latest company set to make an offer.
Shares in the confectioner gained more than 2% to a high of 817p – which is almost 13% above the original takeover bid, made by US food giant Kraft.
According to one industry analyst, it appears that everyone in the confectionery industry is looking for a chunk of Cadbury and talk of interest from other parties is pushing Cadbury’s shares higher.
In September, Kraft which is renowned for brands such as Kenco coffee and Oreo biscuits, approached Cadbury with an informal £10.2 billion takeover offer, which Cadbury rejected.
On 9 November, Kraft made a second bid of £9.8 billion, which was again swiftly rejected. Under the UK’s Takeover Panel rules, Kraft will now be blocked from making another approach for six months.
However, last week it emerged that Cadbury was facing a joint bid from US giant Hershey Co in partnership with Italy’s confectionery group Ferrero.
Hershey is the largest chocolate maker in the US and is controlled by the charitable Hershey Trust, which would have to approve a bid before discussions go any further. It makes the well-known Hershey bar and Hershey’s Kisses.
Ferrero, which makes Nutella chocolate spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates, has a workforce of more than 21,600 and has annual sales of €6.2 billion.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that Nestlé, which has owned Rowntree (another British chocolate company since 1988), has not yet decided on whether to pursue an interest but talks at the Swiss company were last night said to be “serious”.
Roger Carr, Cadbury’s chairman, said: “Clearly, while some potential offers are more aligned with our business model than others, it is the value of the offer rather than the source that is our priority.”