THE board of Cadbury was this morning readying itself for a last-ditch hostile bid from Kraft, the American food group, which is expected to table a takeover offer worth £10bn.<br /><br />Kraft, the maker of Oreo Cookies and Dairylea cheese, has until 5pm under Takeover Panel rules to make a bid or walk away for six months.<br /><br />It is expected the Chicago-based conglomerate will formalise its existing cash-and-shares offer for the British chocolatier. Worth £10.2bn in September, the offer now amounts to £9.8bn following the slide in Kraft’s share price. The see-through value of the deal has fallen from 745p a share to 720p.<br /><br />Roger Carr, Cadbury’s chairman, has spent the past week lobbying shareholders to stand firm against a repeat bid. While Cadbury is determined to reject any offer short of a substantial hike to the original proposal, Kraft has lined up $9bn (£5.4bn) in bridge financing, enough to crank up the cash component of the bid from 300p a share to 400p if necessary.<br /><br />Kraft believes several major shareholders will be swayed by an improved follow-up bid given the potential downside to Cadbury’s share price should the US firm decide to pull out.<br /><br />Shares in Cadbury leapt almost 40 per cent after it rejected Kraft’s first approach in September. They closed at 58p as the deadline loomed last week, their lowest level since rumours of a takeover began to circulate.