Kraft finally wins Cadbury

US food group Kraft has finally swallowed up Dairy Milk chocolate maker Cadbury after investors backed the £11.7bn deal.

Shareholders holding nearly 72 per cent of Cadbury’s stock have accepted Kraft’s offer for the 186-year-old company, comfortably exceeding the 50 per cent plus one share it needed to take control. Kraft will be able to take the company off the stock market when the company has received acceptances for 75 per cent of the shares and will have the right to buy the rest of the stock when it achieves 90 per cent.

The announcement brings to an end a bitter battle for the Birmingham-based group, which attacked Kraft’s business model, financial performance and record of integrating businesses. Kraft has promised $675m (£422m) of annual cost savings from the deal, which will mean job cuts among Cadbury’s global workforce of more than 45,000 in the integration process, analysts said.

The government has faced pressure to extract assurances from Kraft about safeguarding the group’s 4,500-strong workforce in the UK.

Cadbury’s workers gathered in central London yesterday to urge ministers to protect Cadbury staff and investment at its British sites as they join with Kraft’s 98,000 global staff.

Kraft’s chairman and chief executive Irene Rosenfeld said the deal would create “a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals.” A Kraft-Cadbury combination will bring together Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate,
Halls cough drops and Trident gum with Kraft’s portfolio of Milka and Toblerone chocolates, Oreo biscuits, Maxwell House coffee and Philadelphia cheese.