BOURNVILLE, UNITED KINGDOM — Cadbury P.L.C. workers and their union, Unite, on Dec. 15 will launch a bid to fend off a takeover bid by Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill. Unite will unveil a petition to keep London-based Cadbury independent and materials warning shareholders that selling Cadbury would be "Fruit & Nutty," a reference to a company fruit and nut bar. The union added it was concerned Kraft would move all investment decisions out of the United Kingdom.
The union will begin its protest on Dec. 15 in Bournville, the historic home of Cadbury. On Dec. 16 Unite and the workers will visit parliament and alert members of parliament and ministers to their concerns.
In a hostile bid, Kraft is offering Cadbury shareholders 300 pence in cash and 0.2589 new Kraft shares for each Cadbury share. Overall, this gives Cadbury a value of 713 pence per share and an entire issued shared capital of £9.8 billion ($16.5 billion).
"There is a serious and growing worry, stretching from the shop floor to the wiser heads on the city trading floor, about what the Kraft offer and any ensuing bidding war could mean for Cadbury," said Len McCluskey, Unite assistant general secretary. "Cadbury is a great U.K. success story — and it was and is not for sale. But suddenly, a hostile bid and swarming speculators has thrown its future, its investment plans and the jobs of thousands of workers here and in Ireland up in the air.
"We must see off the Kraft bid and any others which do not have this company and its workforce’s best interests at heart. And we must persuade our government and the regulators to act fast so that healthy U.K. businesses cannot again fall prey to the finance vultures."