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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Cadbury a tempting treat

November 18, 2009

cadbury1Check out the possible bidding war brewing for British confectioner Cadbury.

U.S. chocolate maker Hershey and Italy’s privately owned Ferrero both said separately they were evaluating their options over a possible bid for Cadbury, the world’s No. 2 confectioner, but analysts still see hostile bidder Kraft’s $16.2 billion offer as the front runner.

Reuters and other media have reported Hershey, known for its namesake chocolates and Reese’s peanut butter cups, and Ferrero were discussing a joint bid and the UK Takeover panel asked the companies to clarify their intentions. They gave no hint whether they may be working together on a joint bid.

Analysts are skeptical, however, as Hershey is smaller than Cadbury, has high debts and is controlled by a charitable trust, while the secretive Ferrero, famed for its Nutella chocolate spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates,  has made few acquisitions. Most analysts and investors expect Kraft to raise its bid.

Also in the basket:

BJ’s Wholesale quarterly profit falls

Subway eyes 1,000 Russian outlets by 2015

Chico’s quarterly profit beats Street; shares jump

Retailers send distress signal for holiday quarter

Coke sees international markets key to long-term growth

Saks CEO says big spenders still hesitant

(Reuters photo)

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