LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - U.S. food company Kraft KFT.N launched its formal 9.7 billion pounds ($16.3 billion) takeover bid for Britain’s Cadbury CBRY.L on Monday in its attempt to create the world’s biggest confectionery group.
Following are the key events in Kraft’s takeover battle for Cadbury:
Aug 28 - Kraft Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld meets Cadbury’s Chairman Roger Carr to outline a deal in cash and shares that valued Cadbury’s shares at 755 pence each, but Carr dismissed the approach. The Kraft bid was 300p in cash and 0.2589 new Kraft shares for each Cadbury share.
Sept 7 - Kraft goes public with the bid, but its value has slipped to 745p per Cadbury share, or 10.2 billion pounds. Cadbury rejects it as undervaluing the group and its prospects.
Sept 16 - Warren Buffett, the world’s second richest man and a leading shareholder in Kraft with a 10 percent stake, warned the U.S. food group not to overpay for Cadbury, and said it had the disadvantage of using an undervalued stock.
Sept 21 - Cadbury asks the UK Takeover Panel to make a “put up or shut up” request to Kraft, giving it a timeframe to come up with a formal bid or walk away from Cadbury for six months.
Sept 23 - Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer is reported at a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch conference as saying he saw potential benefits from a Kraft deal and discussed valuations with investors, according to a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch note from the conference.
Sept 25 - Cadbury’s Stitzer says he does not believe Kraft’s offer for his company made strategic or financial sense, while Cadbury said his previous remarks had been misconstrued to imply a softening of his views. The clarification is thought to have come after discussions with the UK Takeover Panel.
Sept 30 - UK Takeover Panel rules Kraft has until 1700 local time on Nov 9 to make a formal offer or walk away for six months. Cadbury repeats its rejection of the approach.
Oct 21 - Cadbury posts upbeat third-quarter trading with underlying sales up 7 percent as it raises its 2009 target for sales and profit margin growth. The shares fail to react as a counterbidder is seen increasingly unlikely.
Oct 22 - Nestle NESN.VX and Hershey (HSY.N) report third-quarter results but neither mention any bid for Cadbury, with Nestle’s focus on increasing its share buyback programme.
NOV 3 - Kraft third-quarter results disappoint investors with weaker-than-expected revenue and as it cut its 2009 sales forecast. CEO Rosenfeld says she will not overpay for Cadbury.
NOV 9 - Kraft formalises its bid at the same terms as the original approach — 300p in cash and 0.2589 new Kraft share for each Cadbury share — valued at 717p, but further falls in Kraft shares and the dollar made it worth around 708p. (Reporting by David Jones, editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.5960 Pound)