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Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Hershey plans solo bid for UK candy maker, source says

SWEET DEALAn Italian business daily reported on Wednesday that Ferrero International SA is no longer interested in bidding for British firm Cadbury

AP , HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

The Hershey Co is assembling a solo bid to acquire British candymaker Cadbury PLC without the help of Italian candymaker Ferrero International, a person familiar with Hershey’s plans said on Wednesday.

The company has been working on parallel bids for Cadbury — one with Ferrero and one on its own. A potential bid is still being crafted, the person said.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The person said that Hershey has hoped to avoid a bidding war by waiting until Cadbury’s shareholders decide on a competing US$16.5 billion bid by Kraft Foods Inc.

Kraft has until Feb. 2 to win support from a majority of shareholders. Its deadline to increase its bid is Tuesday.

Cadbury shares rose following the news, adding 12.5 pence, or 1.6 percent, to close at 789.50 pence on the London Stock Exchange.

Hershey shares fell 65 cents to US$37.10 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

A spokesman for the maker of Hershey’s Kisses and Reese’s said that, as a matter of policy, the company does not comment on merger and acquisition issues.

An Italian business daily reported on Wednesday that Ferrero International SA is no longer interested in bidding for Cadbury. The paper, il Sole 24 Ore, cited unidentified sources close to the family-run Italian firm.

Ferrero had no comment.

On Wednesday, Kraft declined to comment on a potential bid from Hershey but maintained that it sees itself as the best partner for Cadbury.

Kraft shares rose 23 cents to US$29.52.

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