Shareholders approve Kraft's acquisition of Cadbury

Cadbury finally fell to Kraft Foods yesterday after the iconic 186-year old UK confectioner's shareholders approved Kraft's raised takeover offer of $19.6 billion.

The Northfield, Illinois-based Kraft, the world's second largest food and beverage company said that it had acquired control of Cadbury as 71.73 per cent of Cadbury's shareholders approved the deal, allowing Cadbury to become part of Kraft Foods.
On 19 January, Kraft sweetened its $16.7-billion hostile offer to $19.6 billion by offering 840 pence a share and a special dividend of 10 pence a share to Cadbury shareholders and the board of the London-based Cadbury recommend the revised offer to all the company shareholders. (See: Cadbury finally falls to Kraft's sweetened bid)

Under the revised offer, Kraft offered 500 pence a share in cash plus 0.1874 of a new Kraft share for each Cadbury share against its September offer of 300 pence in cash and 0.2589 new Kraft shares for every Cadbury share. (See: Cadbury rejects Kraft Foods' $16.7 billion merger offer)

"The combination of Kraft Foods and Cadbury creates a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals," said Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO.

"Together we have impressive global reach and an unrivalled portfolio of iconic brands, with tremendous growth potential. I warmly welcome Cadbury employees into the Kraft Foods family and look forward to meeting many of them in the days and weeks ahead. This combined company has a phenomenal future, and I firmly believe it will deliver outstanding returns to our shareholders," she added.

Yesterday's approval by Cadbury shareholders, 40 per cent of whom were Americans, ended one of the most acrimonious takeovers in the UK's corporate history.

Kraft's reliance on advisors and public relations company Brunswick Group, which helped InBev in the hostile hold-no-bars takeover of Anheuser-Busch last year, paid off after Brunswick embarked on a media barrage to sway Cadbury shareholders.

It is rumoured that Cadbury's former European president Tamara Minick-Scokalo has been lined up by Kraft for a senior role in Cadbury. Analysts surmise that she may take her one time mentor and current Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer's job.
Minick-Scokalo joined Cadbury in 2007 as global commercial president from cosmetics multinational Elizabeth Arden, where she was a senior vice-president. She has worked across marketing, research and development and manufacturing for multinationals including Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble. (See: Cadbury's European president Tamara M Scokalo quits)