Everyone has a pun on the word "sweetness" when covering Kraft's long, fraught, hostile
bid for Cadbury, so we'll indulge too: Warren Buffett thinks Kraft's idea of selling stock to pay for the chocolate maker is far too sweet--saccharine, perhaps?--and as the company's largest shareholder, his nay vote matters. His rejection of Kraft's "blank check" bid sent the company's stock higher, but makes it difficult for Kraft to meet Cadbury's insistent demands for more cash, with the UK firm's spokesman declaring
"Kraft has once again missed the point." How does this affect the deal?
- A Win for Both Companies' Shareholders, says Michael Corkery at the Wall Street Journal says the move is almost win-win: "Buffett's move had the double-barrel effect of making a deal more
palatable to Kraft shareholders and to Cadbury shareholders." Since Kraft is offering stock as part of the deal, the value of its Cadbury offer also increases. Of course, Cadbury's stock fell because it "had been
trading above 800 pence for several months in anticipation of a higher
bid from Kraft"--a now-unlikely scenario.
- Buffet Ties Kraft's Hands, suggests David Schepp in Daily Finance. "Given Buffett's rejection of the deal, it remains unclear whether Kraft will have the stomach to again sweeten its offer ... In voting against the latest bid, Buffett signaled that he's not
interested in a deal that values Kraft stock at less than the average
$33 a share he paid in 2007 for the bulk of his holdings."
- Buffet Still Endorses Deal, But at a Better Price, writes Jon C. Ogg at 24/7 Wall St. Ogg calls Buffet's rejection a "potential roadblock," but concludes that the Oracle of Omaha doesn't actually want to thwart the purchase. "This is a vote against the new terms, but this does not actually mean that Berkshire Hathaway plans to try to kill the deal."
- Perhaps Irrelevant, says Neil Hume at the Financial Times raises the question of whether "Kraft will be forced to make further disposals - its coffee
assets for example - if it wants to secure Buffett's backing." Hume is unsure whether a Buffett rejection would truly derail the bid, but concludes "this could all be irrelevant because if Kraft does not
increase its offer Cadbury shareholders will probably vote 'no' as well."
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