Nestlé looking at the possibility of Cadbury offer

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The Independent Online

Nestlé is considering joining the battle for Cadbury as the US confectionery company Hershey puts the finishing touches to a counter-bid of its own. The British group is currently battling a 750p a share offer from Hershey's US rival, Kraft Foods, with the backing of shareholders who say that the offer is "too low". Cadbury has told all potential bidders that it will fight any bid lower than 850p a share and could even hold out for as much as 900p. Nestlé has not yet decided on whether to pursue an interest but talks at the Swiss company were last night said to be "serious".

However, Cadbury's confidence has been boosted in recent weeks by analysts who have calculated its standalone value at well in excess of 800p a share. Cadbury is thought to see Hershey as a more attractive partner than Kraft but its chief executive, Todd Stitzer, still harbours hopes of going it alone.

Analysts believe Nestlé could outshoot either American bidder.