Cadbury shareholders have formally accepted the improved takeover bid by Kraft Foods, drawing a line under 186 years of independence for the iconic confectioner.

Kraft confirmed yesterday that it had won the backing of a majority of Cadbury shareholders, with around 72% opting to sell.

“I warmly welcome Cadbury employees into the Kraft Foods family and look forward to meeting many of them in the days and weeks ahead,” said Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld.

“Together we have impressive global reach and an unrivalled portfolio of iconic brands, with tremendous growth potential.”

The news came as workers at the Dairy Milk maker lobbied MPs for assurances over job security.

Tuesday marked the deadline for shareholders to decide on the bid, which was initially launched in November with a £9.8bn approach.

Following a war of words between senior management of the two companies – with Cadbury chairman Roger Carr particularly scathing about the US group’s “low-growth business model” – it surrendered to a second bid worth around £11.7bn

Meanwhile, US confectioner Hershey yesterday unveiled a rise in fourth-quarter profits of 54%. The group had been linked with an approach for Cadbury but finally ruled itself out of the running last month.

Read more
Cadbury workers demand assurance over jobs (2 February 2010)
The big steal: how Cadbury fell into Rosenfeld’s clutches (23 January 2010)