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The New York Times this morning reports that Kraft upped its bid to acquire British chocolate maker Cadbury from $16.7 billion to $19 billion, and Cadbury, after months of resistance, said yes.

Roger Carr, chairman of Cadbury, who had previously described the earlier Kraft bid as “derisory,” now says that the improved offer “represents good value for Cadbury shareholders.” And Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld says that the acquisition transforms the company’s portfolio, “accelerates long-term growth and delivers highly attractive returns.”

Experts tell the Times that it is unlikely that Hershey or any other company will step in to try to top Kraft’s bid.

The Times also writes that “the prospect of a takeover of the 186-year-old British institution, especially by an American multinational like Kraft, sent shudders throughout Britain and prompted a wave of public protests ... Politicians and unions have pointed to both a loss of jobs — the Unite labor union has estimated that as many as 30,000 jobs could be lost — and of national pride. ... Cadbury had argued repeatedly that it would prefer to remain independent, pointing to faster-than-expected success in its turnaround program. But its executives have acknowledged that Kraft’s bid put the company in play and that they would consider any offer made at the right price.”
KC's View:
In the end, this isn’t about the preservation of British ownership at Cadbury. It is about money. To think anything else is probably naive.

There’s no question that the acquisition of Cadbury changes Kraft’s portfolio. But it hardly is writ in stone that the long-term picture is definitely going to be successful. The trick is going to be in the implementation and execution. And that’s how CEO Rosenfeld ultimately will be judged.