BRITISH chocolate maker Cadbury has agreed to a sweetened £11,9billion (R96billion) takeover offer from US food group Kraft in a deal that would create the world's biggest chocolate maker.
Kraft's chief executive, Irene Rosenfeld, had to inject more cash into her bid and drop the number of new Kraft shares in the offer to win over Roger Carr, chairman of the 186-year-old Cadbury company, and mollify her top shareholder, billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
The board of Cadbury gave up a four-month fight to remain independent and yesterday recommended shareholders take Kraft's offer of 840 pence per share, amounting to £11,9billion. Cadbury shareholders would also get a 10 pence dividend previously promised by Cadbury.
Kraft Foods still has to persuade a majority of Cadbury shareholders to accept the deal, and the door still remains open until Monday for Hershey to jump in with a rival bid.
Cadbury unions have opposed the move, fearing big job cuts and, with general elections looming, Prime Minister Gordon Brown told a news conference after the deal was announced that he wanted to protect investment and jobs at Cadbury. - AFP & Reuters