Shares in Mondelez International jumped in after-hours trading in New York yesterday (14 December) after reports surfaced Kraft Heinz could be preparing a takeover attempt for the Oreo and Cadbury owner.
Swiss magazine Bilanz suggested Kraft Heinz could be lining up a move for Mondelez, claiming 3G Capital – the investment firm backing the Heinz ketchup owner – is already mobilising for the transaction.
Speculation Mondelez could become a takeover target have circulated since the group’s failed attempt to acquire fellow US chocolate maker Hershey this summer, with some pundits suggesting the group lacks the scale needed to remain independent in a consolidating marketplace.
In November, Brazilian reports suggested investment firm 3G Capital is raising US$8-10bn to fund more acquisitions. At the time, the news sent shares in groups including Mondelez, Campbell Soup Co., Kellogg and General Mills higher.
Kraft Heinz was itself formed by the merger of two food majors, Kraft Foods Group and Heinz. In partnership with US hedge fund Berkshire Hathaway, 3G acquired Heinz in 2013 and then merged the ketchup maker with Kraft Foods Group to form Kraft Heinz last year. 3G’s other consumer goods assets include Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer maker.
A spokesperson for Kraft Heinz told just-food the group would not comment on the report. However, according to Bloomberg, citing people “familiar with the matter”, the groups are not “in talks” over a takeover. A source at Mondelez, speaking under the condition of anonymity, suggested Kraft Heinz has not contacted the company regarding a takeover move.
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Mondelez was span off from the old Kraft Foods Inc in 2012, splitting the business into a higher growth chocolate group focused on emerging markets – Mondelez – and a lower growth higher margin US based ambient grocery business – Kraft Foods Group. Since then, Mondelez has pursued a strategy to strengthen its margins and is in the middle of a $3bn cost-saving programme that runs to 2018.