London: Kraft Foods said on Wednesday that only 1.5% of shareholders in British confectioner Cadbury had accepted the US group’s hostile takeover approach.
The result comes as no surprise as the Cadbury board has repeatedly rejected Kraft’s cash and shares offer worth about £10.5 billion (€11.7 billion, $16.8 billion).
Kraft Foods said in a statement published on Wednesday that it had received valid acceptances “representing approximately 1.52% of the existing issued share capital of Cadbury”.
Late last year, Kraft offered to buy Cadbury for 300 pence in cash and 0.2589 new Kraft Foods shares — an offer deemed “derisory” by the British company’s board.
In a bid to win over Cadbury, Kraft sweetened its hostile offer on Tuesday by proposing a bigger cash component — but faced a fresh rejection from the British firm and objections from its largest shareholder.
Kraft made its latest move with the sale of its North American pizza division to Swiss rival Nestle for $3.7 billion, enabling the US firm to put more cash behind its struggling bid for the British-based confectioner.
In a twist to events, billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway said that it opposed a plan by Kraft to raise cash needed to buy Cadbury via a new share issue.
Kraft is the world’s second-biggest snacks group after Nestle. Cadbury is meanwhile the second largest confectionery company behind Mars.
A tie-up between Kraft and Cadbury would merge leading Kraft brands Oreo biscuits and Maxwell House coffee with Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate and Trident chewing gum.