UK Gets Involved In Cadbury, Kraft Deal

NEW YORK (AP) -- Candy maker Cadbury PLC has taken Kraft Foods Inc.'s unsolicited bid to British regulators, asking them to make the American food maker produce a formal takeover bid or abandon the proposal, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources it did not name, said in a story Tuesday the company is requesting the U.K. Panel on Takeovers and Mergers issue an order demanding Kraft to make a formal bid.

The move comes two weeks after Kraft announced its cash-and-stock offer worth $16.7 billion.

Messages left at Cadbury by The Associated Press were not immediately returned Tuesday. Kraft spokeswoman Lisa Gibbons said the company had no comment.

Cadbury has said the bid by the world's second-largest food maker undervalues the company.

Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer told the paper in an interview he could see that the deal with Kraft would make "some strategic sense." But he said shareholders oppose the deal at the current price and instead want Cadbury to focus on its business.

"Their view is, keep doing what you're doing, and in the absence of any higher value, stay focused," Stitzer said. "If a higher bid does not materialize, I think our shareowners will have to decide whether or not the value of our plan or the value of whatever offer's on the table is appropriate."

Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft makes cheese, Maxwell House coffee and Oscar Mayer meats, and has chocolate businesses in Europe. Cadbury brands include candy, Dentyne gum and Hall's cough drops.

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