After Hershey, Ferrero rules out counterbid to Kraft's offer for Cadbury

Italian chocolatier Ferrero has found Kraft Foods $19.6-billion revised takeover offer for Cadbury too high and ruled out a counter bid, clearing the way for its bigger rival Kraft to finally seal its takeover of the British confectioner.

Last week, US-based confectioner Hershey, which has a market value of about $8.5 billion, less than half of Cadbury's roughly $18.2 billion valuation and a fraction of Kraft's $40.1 billion value, threw in the towel and said that it had no plans to make a counter-bid for Cadbury. (See: Hershey rules out a counterbid for Cadbury)

with its having its main market is Western Europe, Ferrero, based in Pino Torinese near Turin and run by the Ferrero family that is headed by Italy's richest man Michele Ferrero, and his two sons Pietro and Giovanni made the announcement today early morning just before the expiry of the 25 January deadline for counteroffers set by the UK Takeover Panel.

In a statement, Ferrero said, "Further to its announcement of November 18, 2009, Ferrero International SA confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Cadbury."

The Ferrero company, well known for Ferrero Rocher and Kinder chocolates, named in a 2009 survey by Reputation Institute as the most reputable company in the world, had said in November that it may make a offer to Cadbury. (See: Hershey, Ferrero to rival Kraft's bid for Cadbury)

Ferrero has traditionally shied away from acquisitions for growth and has not made a single one from the time the company was founded in 1946.

On 19 January, the world's second largest food and beverage company Kraft Foods raised its takeover offer from $16.7-billion to $19.6 billion, which was accepted by the board of Cadbury. (See: Cadbury finally falls to Kraft's sweetened bid).

The iconic 186-year old UK confectioner Cadbury finally gave up its struggle to remain independent after putting up a valiant bitter fight for four months in one of the most acrimonious corporate takeover battle in the UK.