Mandelson refuses to step in to block Cadbury’s takeover

Lord Mandelson yesterday told a group of MPs he could not step in to prevent a hostile takeover of Cadbury.

The business secretary met with MPs from the Birmingham area to discuss the takeover amid fears the Kraft bid would destroy the British company and put jobs at risk.

Lord Mandelson also said he would not be able to prevent Royal Bank of Scotland from helping to finance Kraft’s £10.2bn offer.

RBS is one of the banks named by Kraft as ready to lend up to £5.5bn, but Lord Mandelson yesterday said the government could not intervene in the bank’s commercial decisions. The MPs had argued that it is “against the national interest” for RBS – which is majority owned by the taxpayer – to fund the hostile bid.

The group of MPs are now turning their attention to appeal directly to shareholders.

Lynne Jones, MP for the Selly Oak constituency that includes Bournville, said: “We would encourage them to support the current management of Cadbury. We would hope that if shareholders want to see the company prosper and grow, they should reject the Kraft bid.”