Complaints, protests, countless column inches and almost two centuries as an independent company all counted for nothing yesterday when Cadbury shareholders accepted the takeover bid from Kraft Foods en masse.
The US rival finally won its five-month battle for control of the Bournville company after confirming that 71.7 per cent of shareholders backed its offer.
The vote paves the way for Kraft to snap up Cadbury - ending its 186-year history as an independent company.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company said it was closing in on the necessary 75 per cent to de-list Cadbury. The next step would be owning 90 per cent of shares to take it over entirely.
The deal will mean the creation of the market leader in the chocolate and confectionery industry by revenue – overtaking Mars-Wrigley – and the number two in the chewing gum market – behind Mars-Wrigley
Irene Rosenfeld, chairman of Kraft Foods, said: “The combination of Kraft Foods and Cadbury creates a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals.
“Together we have impressive global reach and an unrivalled portfolio of iconic brands, with tremendous growth potential. I warmly welcome Cadbury employees into the Kraft Foods family and look forward to meeting many of them in the days and weeks ahead. This combined company has a phenomenal future, and I firmly believe it will deliver outstanding returns to our shareholders.”
Kraft’s cash-and-shares deal, recommended by the Cadbury board two weeks ago, values the Bournville firm at around £11.4 billion.
Kraft confirmed, in a statement, it planned to de-list Cadbury from the stock exchange.
It said: “Following receipt of sufficient acceptances (i.e. 75 per cent.), Kraft Foods intends to procure that Cadbury will apply for the cancellation of the listing of cadbury shares on the official list and the trading on the London Stock Exchange for listed securities. Kraft Foods also intends to procure that, as soon as practicable.”
Facts about the new company:
THE NEW COMPANY
* The two companies had combined revenues of more £31 billion in 2008, bringing together Kraft’s £26.3 billion and Cadbury’s £5.5 billion.
* Kraft will remain the world’s second biggest food group behind Nestle.
* The company will have 40 confectionery brands that each have annual sales in excess of £63 million
* Kraft’s 98,000 employees will join with Cadbury’s global workforce of over 45,000.
* The company will have leading position in developing markets, including in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Mexico.