Kraft completes purchase of Cadbury

LONDON - US food giant Kraft's £11.7bn takeover of British confectioner Cadbury was completed yesterday amid uncertainty over the future of 4,500 Cadbury jobs in the UK.

When business secretary Lord Mandelson met with Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld last night he was unable to secure "specific commitments" from the Kraft boss.

Mandelson said: "I was disappointed that [Rosenfeld] was unable to confirm that Cadbury's confectionery brands would continue to be managed and operated globally from the UK."

The deal was completed when more than 50% of Cadbury's shareholders had accepted Kraft's offer by 1pm yesterday. So far 71.7% of investors have agreed to the terms and the shares will delist once 75% of shareholders have accepted the offer of 850p a share.

Mandelson said Rosenfeld "expects Britain to be a net gainer in manufacturing output and employment" but he will be looking for "much harder, more specific commitments in the next three to six months".

Shortly before the deal was formally completed workers from Bournville, the Cadbury factory built in 1879, and MPs from the Midlands gathered in front of the Houses of Parliament to protest against the sale.

Mandelson said: "I will continue to stay in close touch with Kraft to help ensure that the prospects for all parts of the new combined company are assured in the UK."

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