Business Diary: Defeat leaves a nasty taste in the mouth
Wednesday 20 January 2010
Within hours of reports on Monday night that Kraft had succeeded in its bid for Cadbury – and before an official announcement – a new 'How Can We Ruin Yours' take on Creme Egg advertising was doing the rounds on the internet. If only opponents to the deal had been so creative in their defence of the chocolate company.
Carr will have to eat his own words
Down at Cadbury's west London headquarters, certain people are going to be chewing on something slightly less tasty than the company's confectionery. Take Roger Carr, Cadbury's chairman, who will have to mend a few bridges now he is backing Kraft's offer. Last week he said he couldn't think of a single "strategic, operational, managerial or financial reason" why Kraft and Cadbury should team up.
Once a sweet tooth, always a sweet tooth
Not that Keep Cadbury British campaigners should have been surprised to see Carr give in to Kraft in the end. He did, after all, make his name in the Eighties while running Williams. Not only was it one of Britain's most prominent corporate raiders, when the company was finally broken up much of it ended up under foreign ownership.
Bitter for sure, but short on the dough
While opponents to the deal are well-intentioned, you can't help feeling they are a little amateurish. Take Felicity Loudon, the great-great-grandaughter of the firm's founder John Cadbury, who appeared on Radio 4's Today programme yesterday to criticise Kraft's takeover. So how many shares does the family have these days? she was asked. "To be honest, I don't know," Loudon confessed.
This pill comes coated in sugar
Appearing on the same programme was David Cummings, the Standard Life fund manager who 24 hours previously was insisting Kraft would need to pay £9-plus to get his vote. Now that Kraft's offer has been recommended – and other investors are caving – Cummings has changed his mind, preferring to talk about Britain's sensible refusal to embrace protectionism in these situations.
Number of the day: 50 per cent
The premium to Cadbury's share price before the takeover saga began that Kraft's latest offer represents.
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