Kraft wins control of Cadbury

Kraft Foods won control of Cadbury on Tuesday as holders of almost 72 per cent of the British chocolatier's stock accepted the £11.7 billion (Dh68.67bn) takeover that will create the world's biggest confectioner.

Kraft needed just 50 per cent plus one share to take control of Cadbury. Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld expects to complete the deal in the coming weeks as remaining Cadbury shareholders come forward to accept the cash and stock bid.

"We are confident that, given the strong support that we got in the tender, in the coming days and weeks we will be able to finish the process," Rosenfeld said in an interview.

The majority approval caps a five-month battle for Cadbury that tested Rosenfeld's leadership and drew harsh words from Cadbury's top brass in the confectioner's defence.

Rosenfeld is taking the next steps toward integrating the world's number two confectioner into the second-largest food maker. She met on Tuesday with UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, who wants to protect about 4,500 British Cadbury jobs. Kraft promised $675 million (Dh2.48bn) of annual cost savings from the deal, which means some of Cadbury's 45,000 workers around the world will lose their jobs, analysts said.

Rosenfeld did not make promises about specific jobs, instead saying that the deal is meant to increase sales of Cadbury and Kraft products.

Cadbury's workers gathered in central London as the votes were counted to urge the government to protect Cadbury's British workforce and future investment at its British sites as they join with Kraft's 98,000 global staff.

The combination brings together Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate, Halls cough drops and Trident gum with Kraft's portfolio of Milka and Toblerone chocolates, Oreo cookies, Maxwell House coffee and Philadelphia cream cheese.

 

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