Last updated at 10:42 PM on 09th January 2010
The gloves have come off in the battle for Cadbury, with the British confectioner accusing Kraft Foods boss Irene Rosenfeld of not being truly in control of her American company.
Cadbury chairman Roger Carr said Rosenfeld 'may be the chief executive, but the executive chairman is in Omaha'.
He was referring to billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the 'Sage of Omaha' whose Berkshire Hathaway investment company is based in Omaha, Nebraska.
War: There are several firms batting for Cadburys, but Kraft is still the favourite if a takeover is to happen
Last week, he openly hit out at plans by Kraft to issue new shares to fund its £10.3billion hostile takeover.
Buffett, who owns 9.4 per cent of the Oreo cookies-to-Dairylea manufacturer, warned against hurting shareholder value and urged Kraft to keep a lid on the spiralling acquisition price.
Carr said: 'He's boxed her in and the ratings agencies will stop her borrowing more. It must have been extremely embarrassing for Kraft to have been so publicly reprimanded by its largest shareholder.'
On Tuesday, Cadbury will launch its final defence, which will focus on future performance and its long-term strategic value. Cadbury also has until Friday to give a detailed update on trading over Christmas.
The figures are expected to show that margins have improved consistently through 2009 and the trend should ensure the company comfortably meets tough new trading targets of good, mid-teen margins by 2011.
'They're not going to disappoint,' said a source close to the company. Cadbury, which has repeatedly said Kraft is trying to 'steal the company on the cheap', wants to ensure its shareholders know the likely growth in underlying value that should be the starting point for the Kraft offer.
A source at Kraft said the company would watch Cadbury's statements 'with interest' but added that reported talks between Cadbury and US chocolate maker Hershey indicated that Cadbury had 'already given up thoughts of independence'.
Sources close to Cadbury believe a rival bid is now unlikely, though Carr insists 'the door is open to a fully financed' bid.
Kraft has until January 19 to give more information about its bid and raise its offer, thought likely to go up to 800p.
Kraft's cash and shares bid was worth 768p on Friday. Cadbury shares closed at 778p. Shareholders have until February 2 to accept or reject Kraft's offer unless a rival bid emerges.Share Investor Links
Share Investor Blog - Stockmarket & Business commentary
Share Investor New Zealand Business News- Get more business news
Discuss this topic @ Share Investor Forum - Register free
Share Investor's Daily Forex Updates
Recommended Amazon Reading
|Security Analysis: Sixth Edition, Foreword by Warren Buffett (Security Analysis Prior Editions) by Benjamin Graham |
Buy new: $47.25 / Used from: $46.96
Usually ships in 9 to 11 days
|The Four Filters Invention of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger by Bud Labitan|
Buy new: $33.25 / Used from: $43.89
Usually ships in 24 hours