Kraft Foods sealed a friendly deal to buy British candy maker Cadbury for about $19.6 billion after frantic last-minute talks broke an impasse over price.
Kraft Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld had to inject more cash into her bid and drop the number of new shares in the offer to win over Cadbury Chairman Roger Carr and mollify billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the U.S. food company’s top shareholder.
The deal will create the world’s biggest confectioner, and analysts see little likelihood of a counterbid.
The cash-and-stock agreement, which dealmakers said was struck after all-night negotiations at the London headquarters of investment bank Lazard, values each Cadbury share at 840 pence. Rosenfeld had prompted the talks by telephoning Carr on Sunday.
“Kraft has acquired a great asset at a great price and should be given credit for this,” said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood.
The combined company will just overtake privately owned Mars-Wrigley as the world’s top sweet maker.