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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 2, February 2010, Posted On: 1/22/2010

Cadbury Acquisition Positions Kraft As No. 1 Confectionery Company

by Staff Reporter
Kraft, Kraft Foods, Mars, Cadbury, Warren Buffett, vending, vending machine, vending business, vending products

LONDON -- The acquisition of 186-year-old Cadbury will make Kraft the world's biggest chocolate and confectionery producer by revenue, adding such brands as Dairy Milk and Creme Egg, Trident gum and Green & Black's to Kraft's portfolio. Kraft will also become the No. 2 gum producer, behind privately held Mars Inc., and consolidate its position as the world's second biggest food group with combined revenue of nearly $60 billion in 2008.

Kraft Foods on Tuesday (Jan. 19) increased its offer by 14% to win over Cadbury PLC's board, which for more than four months had jeered at the idea of selling. For Kraft, Cadbury's higher-margin chocolate and gum business is expected to accelerate the company's profile in emerging markets. Kraft said the deal would add 5¢ to earnings in 2011. Read more on Kraft's deal to acquire Cadbury.

Kraft shareholders won't get a chance to vote on the Cadbury deal because Kraft bolstered the cash portion of the bid and won't need shareholder approval to issue more shares to finance the transaction -- the largest-ever European deal in the food and beverage sector, according to Thomson Reuters.

Famed investor Warren Buffett criticized the $19.4 deal. Buffett told cable-news channel CNBC in an interview Wednesday that he would vote no, if he had the chance to vote. His investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is Kraft's largest shareholder, owning 138 million shares, or 9.4%. He also said that Kraft sold its North American frozen-pizza business too cheaply. The U.S. food giant sold its DiGiorno, Tombstone and Jack's pizza brands on Jan. 5 to Nestlé for $3.7 billion to raise cash for the Cadbury deal. Read more on Kraft's pizza deal. But he told CNBC he still thinks Kraft shares are "undervalued."

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