UPDATE: UK: Kraft stands by revised Cadbury bid
Kraft Foods this morning (5 January) insisted it has not raised its bid for takeover target Cadbury but claimed the change to the "mix" of the offer would please investors in the UK confectioner.
Earlier this morning, Kraft announced plans to offer more cash to Cadbury shareholders after the US group agreed to sell its North American frozen pizza business to Nestle.
The US food giant told just-food that moves to sweeten its bid is designed to win over Cadbury investors more interested in an immediate return than a long-term investment.
"This is not an increased offer. The only thing that has changed is the mix of the offer, as we are now offering more cash. This will appeal more to some investors because feedback has been that they want a larger cash component as this gives immediate feed-through," the spokesperson said.
The revised offer also counters one of Cadbury's primary criticisms of the proposed deal: that investors are essentially "swapping" shares in a more focused and higher-growth Cadbury for those in Kraft, which has been portrayed as a "low-growth conglomerate".
In December, Kraft offered Cadbury shareholders 300 pence in cash and 0.2589 new Kraft shares.
The spokesperson said that, under the new offer, Cadbury investors will be able to opt for a larger cash component - but that the cash-to-share ratio would be dependent on "a number of factors" that have not yet been disclosed. Investors will not be given the option to choose 100% cash, the spokesperson added.
While Kraft hopes that the increased cash component will be enough to win the support of investors hoping to turn an immediate profit on the deal, the offer still fails to reach the level at which Cadbury shares are currently trading.
Kraft's GBP10.5bn (US$16.9bn) cash-and-stock offer currently values Cadbury at around 733 pence per share. Although Cadbury shares had dipped by 2% in morning trade, they were still trading at 789 pence per share at 10.20am (GMT).
Kraft chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld has repeatedly stated that the Milka and Toblerone chocolate maker would remain "disciplined" in its pursuit of Cadbury.
However, Kepler Capital Markets analyst Jon Cox said Kraft is still likely to raise its offer for Cadbury in order to gain control of the Dairy Milk maker. "I think they need to offer more and can do so," he told just-food.
Following the revised offer, Kraft has extended the deadline for investors to tender Cadbury shares from today to 2 February.
For nostalgia lovers, this morning's (1 July) news that a so-called 'iconic' UK food brand is set to end up in US hands meant the day would have started with a sour note....
Here we take a look at who said what this week....
Kraft Foods has named Jean-Philippe Paré as the president of its French subsidiary, succeeding Bruno Luisetti who has held the post since 2000....
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