Neither Kraft nor Hershey can compare to the taste of real Cadbury's chocolate

The nightmare before Christmas has already come as far as I am concerned. It's likely my favourite confectionery brand, Cadbury, is soon to be in foreign hands. I can already see the disappointed looks on the faces of my niece Carys and nephew Miles when they fail to discover a Cadbury's stocking stuffed full of their favourite fingers of fudge, Curly Wurlys and Dairy Milk under the Christmas tree.

OK, I know Kraft or Hershey will continue making these classic brands, but has anyone tried their chocolate? Aside from Terry's chocolate orange another great British brand that fell victim to overseas rapacity there is little to compete with the silky smooth taste of Cadbury. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cadbury fans across the pond drive miles to find the real thing rather than the US version made under licence by Hershey.

Unfortunately, when a company is subject to a hostile bid, the chances of it remaining independent are as likely as Gordon Brown winning the next election. For the 45,000 employees of the confectionery giant the uncertainty will be having a major impact on morale throughout the 60 countries in which it operates.

Here in the UK, the 5,600 staff will be wondering which suitor will bring the best prospects. In its bid document Kraft has declared it would continue to operate the Somerdale facility in Bristol, which is currently planned to for closure, and would invest in Bourneville, thereby preserving UK manufacturing jobs. It has also promised to safeguard all pension rights.

But there is also the question of cultural fit, as history tells us this is one of the key reasons M&A strategies fail. At the time of writing, Kraft rival Hershey had yet to declare a formal bid, but Cadbury chief executive Todd Stitzer believes the cultural fit with the charitable trust-owned company would be better.

Given Cadbury was founded on strong philanthropic principles, the Hershey deal does indeed look best on paper. Yet Kraft's commitment to keep manufacturing jobs may play well with Cadbury's people. And don't forget that Cadbury employees are the fifth-largest group of shareholders in the business.

One last point: Cadbury's chief executive committee is all male and 83% white. Over at Hershey a quarter of the management team is female. Meanwhile Kraft has a female chairman and chief executive, Irene Rosenfeld, while three more of the 11-strong management team are women and two are non-white.

While Cadbury may have the best tasting chocolate, its executive diversity strategy does leave a bitter taste in the mouth and could do with some sweetening.

Siân Harrington is editor of Human Resources magazine.