Cadbury launches last defence
Sunday 10 January 2010
Todd Stitzer, the chief executive of UK confectioner Cadbury, will launch a staunch final defence this week against predator Kraft Foods, the Toblerone maker.
With little hope of a so-called "white knight" investor riding in to protect Cadbury against Kraft's hostile £10.5bn bid, Mr Stitzer is expected to emphasise cost-cutting measures and strong recent sales in its 2009 trading figures.
The board hopes this will convince investors that Kraft has undervalued Cadbury so that they reject the offer and maintain nearly two centuries of independence.
Kraft's bid is worth about 767p a share, 11p below Cadbury's current share price. Most observers think that Kraft will have to up its offer to at least 800p and increase the cash element of the bid. Much of the offer involves giving Cadbury shareholders a stake in the combined group.
Under takeover rules, Kraft can improve its bid until 19 January. Shareholders must decide whether or not to accept it by 2 February.
It looks very much as though 2015 will be a good year for the world economy, after all – and, if it is, that will be thanks to the fall in the oil price. It won't be good for everyone and we have already seen the pressure it puts on the Russian leadership – though, before you conclude that sometimes there is natural justice in the world, remember that the people who are hurt are not leaders such as Vladimir Putin. Other oil- and gas-exporting countries are damaged, too, and I think we will see further fallout in unpredictable ways. But the net impact is strongly positive, more so than most commentators at present acknowledge. The winners far outnumber the losers.
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