UK: Calls for intervention to block Kraft-Cadbury deal

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th December 2009

Pressure is mounting for the UK government to step in and block Kraft Foods’ proposed takeover of Cadbury.Cadbury management has repeatedly rejected Kraft’s GBP10bn (US$16.25bn) cash-and-stock offer, arguing that it undervalues the company and its future prospects.

Objections have also been raised by Unite, the union representing Cadbury workers in the UK and Ireland.

According to the union, talks with Kraft management have failed to assuage concerns that the US conglomerate would not invest adequately in Cadbury’s brands and that jobs would be lost as the company looked to cut costs.

“They have failed to convince us that they would invest in the future of Cadbury and its workers. The concern is that they would have to cut back investment in the company in order to service the high levels of debt that Kraft would have to take on to find the acquisition,” a spokesperson for the union told just-food.

Unite today (16 December) took its campaign to parliament, where representatives and local MPs backing the call to keep Cadbury independent have met with Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

The group will urge the government to use its majority-ownership of Royal Bank of Scotland – the bank putting up a large proportion of Kraft’s financing for the deal – to block Kraft’s ability to finance the acquisition.

“Our argument is that a state-backed bank should not fund a deal that is counter to British interests,” the spokesperson said.

Kraft was unavailable to comment at time of press.

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