Cadbury shareholders back Kraft takeover offer

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US food giant Kraft won its five-month battle for control of Cadbury after shareholders backed its takeover offer today.

The vote will end Cadbury’s 186-year history as an independent company.

The cash-and-shares deal, recommended by the Cadbury board two weeks ago, values the UK firm at around £11.4bn.

Kraft hopes the acquisition will create a global confectionery leader and the world number one in chocolate and sugar confectionery.

Kraft first approached Cadbury in August 2009 but was accused of trying to buy the firm ‘on the cheap’ with a ‘derisory’ offer. The Cadbury board relented two weeks ago when Kraft increased its bid.

Cadbury employs more than 6,000 staff in the UK and 46,500 globally.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson will appeal for Kraft boss Irene Rosenfield to save Cadbury’s British factories and workforce when the two meet tonight

‘Instead, the fate of manufacturing workers in Terry’s of York, who found that Kraft ownership saw their plant close, weighs heavily on the minds of the Cadbury workforce.

‘Kraft cared little for the great history of that plant or for the skills of its workforce, so we must seize the opportunity now to ensure that Cadbury and its workforce do not suffer the same fate.

‘The Government must secure meaningful pledges from Kraft, and police them so that Kraft cannot again walk away from a UK workforce. Ministers must make it abundantly clear that closures and mass redundancies will not be accepted by the British Government or the British people.

‘The Government has said, and rightly so, that we must rebuild our manufacturing base. It is simply wrong, however, that hostile takeovers of successful British companies can happen.’

Unite said there was still no information on the consequences of the deal for the workforces of both companies and called on Kraft to make its intentions clear, warning that workers were ‘extremely worried’ for their future.

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