Ferrero drops out of bidding for Cadbury, leaving Kraft to go solo

ITALY’S Ferrero has ruled out a rival bid for Cadbury, clearing the way for Kraft Foods to complete its £11.7bn takeover of the British confectioner.

Fellow chocolate maker Hershey said on Friday it had no intention of bidding for Cadbury, so with Nestle already ruled out, Kraft appears on course to complete its recommended bid by the deadline of 2 February.

“Ferrero International confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Cadbury ,” the Italian group said in a statement yesterday.

Last week Kraft agreed a cash and shares deal valuing Cadbury shares at 840p, with Cadbury shareholders also promised a 10p-a-share dividend.

Potential bidders Hershey and Ferrero, which had both said on 18 November they were considering bids for Cadbury, were given until 7am yesterday either to come up with a fully financed bid or withdraw.

Shareholders in Cadbury have until 1pm on 2 February to accept the Kraft offer, and with the deal already recommended by the Cadbury board and no obvious rival bidders seen entering the battle, analysts expect the Kraft takeover to go through.

In a separate announcement, Kraft said Cadbury shareholders who elect to receive extra cash under a mix and match facility will receive 799p rather than the current 827p under the cash and shares offer.

Kraft’s Irene Rosenfeld is in Davos this week, promoting the deal.