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Cadbury takeover turns nasty

This weekend has seen a stinging attack on Cadbury directors by the chairman and chief executive of Kraft Foods, Irene Rosenfeld. In a move which is almost certainly premeditated, she has accused the Cadbury board of directors of "not doing the maths" amid signs that this potential takeover is becoming more and more acrimonious. The fact that Cadbury directors appear more interested in keeping the company independent than obtaining a higher price for shareholders has also attracted the attention of Kraft Foods.

There have also been rumours that Cadbury's directors have been in America this week trying to curry favour with some of the larger investors. Initial indications seem to suggest there is support for the stance taken by Cadbury directors, although a number of larger investors would appear to be happy to accept a higher offer if it can be agreed. While many people believe that Cadbury's days of independence are almost certainly numbered, we need to remember that there has not even been a formal bid as yet.

The recent put up or shut up ruling by the takeover panel should at least set the wheels in motion for a potential formal bid from Kraft Foods, at whatever price this may be.

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