Kraft Foods said today (15 December) that it had received clearance from US competition authorities to proceed with its proposed acquisition of UK confectioner Cadbury.

Cadbury management has repeatedly rejected Kraft's GBP10bn (US$16.25bn) cash-and-stock offer, arguing that it undervalues the company and its future prospects.

However, Kraft has taken its bid directly to shareholders, who have until 5 January to decide whether or not to accept the deal.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Kraft revealed: "The US competition condition to the offer is now satisfied."

According to a spokesperson for the company, Kraft now only requires regulatory clearance in the EU. 

Last week, the European Commission extended its deadline for reviewing the proposals until 6 January.

The Commission, which had previously been scheduled to make a ruling on the takeover plan by 14 December, said that Kraft has put forward possible changes to its proposals.

However, Kraft insisted that it does not anticipate any serious antitrust concerns to arise in Europe.

"Going into the merger, Kraft did not expect there to be any material competition concerns," the spokesperson said.