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Goodnight Irene, goodnight, love from Roger


An early draft of Cadbury’s weekend response to the bid approach from Kraft has fallen into my hands.

Dear Irene B Rosenfeld

As you already know, we’ve already spattered your unsolicited takeover proposal with the corporate equivalent of Creme Egg goo, but I thought I’d follow up for the slower members of your board. We really don’t like the idea of being swallowed up by some amorphous conglomerate at a knockdown price simply because nobody wants your extruded Dairylea cheese-style sections anymore.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve turned ourselves into the chocs’n'gum kings (well, princes, anyway, since Mars is the one we all have to beat). We’ve put those tooth-rotting fizzy sugary drinks back onto the shareholders (the performance of Dr Pepper Snapple since then rather shows how little we really knew about the business) and we’re now a pure play confectionery company.

We’re unique. We’re impossible to replicate. We’re close to being a national treasure, and I hardly need to remind you of the price that Nestle was forced to pay for Rowntree once the board had decided to play that card (twice the “undisturbed” price, if memory serves).