David Prosser: Takeover Panel shoots itself in the foot

Outlook How wonderful our system of regulation is. In publicly censuring Kraft for the way in which it led people to believe it would reverse Cadbury's plan to close a factory only to change its mind once its hostile bid for the confectioner succeeded, the Takeover Panel has damaged only itself.

Kraft may be embarrassed by this episode, but the deal is done and the Panel's rebuke will cost it nothing more than some red faces. The regulator, on the other hand, will now have to start the search for its next director-general all over again. It had lined up Lazard's Peter Kiernan for the role, but since Kraft was advised by Lazard during the Cadbury takeover, Mr Kiernan no longer feels able to take up the position.

That presumably means the Panel's review of the takeover rules will also take a little longer to complete. The review was triggered by weaknesses in the rules that the Kraft case was perceived as having highlighted. Now Kraft's behaviour will delay any improvements deemed necessary.