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Stitz-up at Merrill Lynch?


Was it a gaffe or was the poor man misquoted? We certainly have two very different accounts of Todd Stitzer’s contribution to a closed conference at Merrill Lynch on 22 September. Maybe it would be better if these sort of briefings just didn’t take place.

According to a Merrill specialist salesman, who jotted down his remarks, Cadbury’s chief executive devoted his entire performance to sharing some thoughts about Kraft’s bid proposal. This was a pretty sensitive subject to pick but, hey, these were serious investors. So he allegedly indicated the possible exit price and the scale of the possible synergies from the deal. The salesman noted that:

Todd admitted that there is some strategic sense in combining the two companies and he doesn’t expect Kraft to walk away, so he said his job is to get as much value as possible.

Stitzer has now clarified his words, most likely at the behest of the Takeover Panel. This statement comes straight out of the circumlocution office and reads: