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Hershey Sizing Up Kraft's Next Move

HERSHEY, Pa. (TheStreet) -- Hershey (HSY) will decide whether to bid on Cadbury (CBY) after Kraft Foods (KFT) makes its final offer, a report says.

Hershey has been in talks with credit-ratings companies in recent days about how to structure an offer without hurting its investment-grade debt rating, Bloomberg reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Hershey also has been drafting commitment letters with its lenders to secure a multibillion-dollar loan package.

Kraft has until Tuesday to raise its current offer of 762 pence a share while Hershey has another four days until Jan. 23 to make a decision to bid. A higher offer by Kraft may lead Hershey to conclude a bid is above its reach, the sources said, Bloomberg reports.

Cadbury Chairman Roger Carr confirmed in a conference call Thursday that Hershey recently reaffirmed its interest in the U.K. confectionary maker.

Cadbury's board, led by CEO Todd Stitzer and Hershey, headed by CEO David West, have discussed a combination, says Bloomberg.

Kraft's hostile offer for Cadbury is valued at about $17 billion.

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