Anxious Cadbury staff may have to wait until around 5pm today to find out the result of Kraft's takeover bid for the Birmingham firm.

The deadline for shareholders to vote passed at 1pm and it is widely expected that US company Kraft will seal its takeover of Cadbury.

UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson was due to meet Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld later for reassurances over British jobs.

If the £11.7 billion takeover is agreed, Lord Mandelson will look to protect around 4,500 British jobs at the Bournville-based chocolate maker.

“It’s to discuss the state of play in relation to the takeover,’’a government spokesman said. "The government will be looking for reassurance from Kraft as to the commitments they have made to the workforce and the UK operations."

The American food group is expected to win more than 75 percent of votes for the deal at which level it can delist Cadbury shares in London, but it only needs 50 percent plus one share to take control of Cadbury and declare victory.

Cadbury shareholders had until 1pm to cast their votes. With the deal recommended by the Cadbury board and no rival bidders envisaged, the takeover of the iconic British confectioner was expected to be declared complete four hours later.

"We would expect Kraft to win comfortable support for the deal given it’s agreed and the supportive comments from Cadbury shareholders," said an industry source close to the situation.

As the voting was closing, Cadbury’s workers gathered in central London to urge the British government to do all they could to protect Cadbury’s UK workforce and investment at its British sites as they join with Kraft’s 98,000 global staff.

During an acrimonious near five-month bid battle, Cadbury Chairman Roger Carr has attacked Kraft’s business model, financial performance and record of integrating businesses, leaving Kraft’s CEO Irene Rosenfeld to try and soothe worries.

Rosenfeld is expected to outline her strategy to win the hearts and minds of Cadbury’s staff, while delivering the cost savings and revenue growth she has promised to keep her largest shareholder Warren Buffett happy.