Cadbury has emphasised that value remains the key factor in any takeover bid for the UK confectioner after a weekend of growing speculation over the future of the business.

Over the weekend, reports claimed that Hershey, the US chocolate maker, was mulling a solo bid for Cadbury, as well as still giving a joint approach with Ferrero consideration.

Reuters, meanwhile, suggested that Kraft Foods, which has placed the only firm offer on the table for Cadbury, could raise its bid for the company if any rival bids are formally lodged.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, said Nestle, which has so far remained firmly on the sidelines, was reviewing its options.

The speculation has played a role in driving up Cadbury's shares this morning (23 November), which stood at 819p - up 2.3% - at 09:44 GMT.

Amid the growing rumours that Cadbury could soon receive a fresh offer for the business, the Dairy Milk maker told just-food that the value of any bid - rather than the identity of the bidder - would be its prime consideration.

"It's the value rather than the source that is our priority," a Cadbury spokesman told just-food.

Yesterday, Cadbury chairman Roger Carr told The Sunday Telegraph that some "potential offerors" were "more aligned with our business than others" but said value was key.

"We're focused on the delivery of value to shareholders as a stand-alone, pure play confectioner," Carr told The Sunday Telegraph. "But we will give proper consideration to any compelling offer from a serious source.''