Kraft swallows Cadbury whole

After months of bitter negotiations, confectionery giant Cadbury has agreed to Kraft’s multi-billion dollar takeover bid.

Cadbury management accepted an improved takeover offer worth 840 pence per share, the companies announced in a statement on Tuesday, valuing the British group at about STG11.5 billion ($20.28 billion).

Cadbury, which began as a small grocer’s shop in Birmingham, England in 1824, now operates in 60 countries with 45,000 employees and is the world’s second biggest confectioner behind Mars.

Kraft has emerged in the 21st century as the second largest snack foods group worldwide after Nestle.

For Australia, the merger will create a local foods giant with sales of more than $1 billion and bring the historic Cadbury company’s products under the same umbrella as Kraft’s iconic Vegemite.

The new firm will create a global market leader with over 40 confectionery brands each with annual sales of more than $US100 billion ($107.94 billion).

Cadbury operates three factories in this country and has about 35 per cent of the local confectionary market, employing 2,300 people.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union is looking into possible job losses at Cadbury’s Tasmanian plant.

Concerns about job losses have deepened after the pair admitted that they intended to make significant cost savings.

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