Blog: Dean BestHas Ferrero left Kraft as the only bidder in the room?

Dean Best | 13 January 2010

Suggestions that Ferrero has all but backed out of the race to buy Cadbury comes as little surprise to watchers of the Kinder chocolate maker.

The family-owned confectioner is seen as one of Italy's more conservative private companies and, if today's (13 January) reports are on the money, the group's reluctant chairman Michele Ferrero has won the argument not to bid for Cadbury.

Mr Ferrero's sons, the company's joint CEOs, were said to be keen to launch a bid for the UK confectionery giant but concerns over the financial impact on the Italian group seem to have trumped any ambitions to expand.

So, with Ferrero apparently out the picture, and Nestle last week ruling itself out of a bid for Cadbury, intuitively Hershey will now not be able to table a successful offer for the Dairy Milk maker.

When Hershey first declared an interest in the autumn, analysts said the US chocolate maker could only afford to buy Cadbury alongside a bid partner.

And one of our industry sources has heard rumblings from Hershey that seem to back up that intuition.

All this, then, would leave Kraft Foods as the only bidder in the room. The US food giant upped its 2009 earnings forecast today; all that the Cadbury board is interested in is a raised takeover offer after publicly deriding Kraft's approach.

Kraft has six days to increase its bid. The clock is ticking.


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