It’s Labor Day in the US but there is certainly one group of Americans at the coalface.

Kraft Foods’ announcement of a GBP10.2bn (US$16.76bn) takeover bid for Cadbury blew away the weekend’s cobwebs this morning (7 September) and, after the UK confectionery group rejected the overtures from the US food giant,Kraft’s senior management will spend today trying to convince investors and the wider market of the merits of its offer.

Initially, analysts seem split over Kraft’s approach. One told us this morning that a combination of Kraft and Cadbury would lead to “profound disruption” and simply benefit rivals like Nestle.

Others have said the deal makes “perfect sense” and have urged the companies to come together – if the price is right. Indeed, Cadbury’s determination to go it alone suggests that Kraft is likely to come back with an improved offer. The bid currently on the table values Cadbury at a lower EBITDA multiple than Wrigley when Mars snapped up the gum giant last year. And even analysts supportive of Kraft’s move believe Cadbury deserves a higher premium.

In any case, Kraft’s move is sure to get tongues wagging throughout the confectionery sector. The Milka and Toblerone maker has already sought to win over Cadbury workers here by insisting it could keep open a site set for closure – and invest further at the UK group’s spiritual home in Bournville.

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Speculation that further consolidation was on the horizon dates back to last April when Mars moved for Wrigley and, although the financial crisis meant any prospects for serious M&A diminished, Kraft’s move signals that, among some of food’s corporate giants, a fresh wave of jostling at the industry’s top tables could be imminent.

Nestle, the Swiss food giant, may be slightly miffed that Kraft has stolen the thunder from its announcement this morning of its own fresh investment in chocolate. Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke was quick to say he would not comment on Kraft’s sortie – and on whether Nestle had any counter moves of its own ready to be unleashed.

And what of Hershey, the US chocolate maker long linked to a future tie-up with Cadbury? Something suggests Kraft’s move may have soured Labor Day for Hershey’s senior execs.