NEW YORK (
) -- This week,
( CBY) tried to push
( KFT) away, and is determined to keep shoving until Kraft falls over and gives up the idea of taking over the British confectioner. Cadbury's CEO Todd Stitzer even flew all the way to New York to make his case with the company's investors and analysts this week.
Stitzer seemed to get his message across quite clearly, especially given that Kraft's bid was worth 734 pence per share, or about $16.3 billion, as of December 18, which wasn't very impressive next to Cadbury's closing price of 786.50 pence per share on Friday.
Kraft's stubborn refusal to budge is maddening for Cadbury and its investors, but from a practical standpoint, its understandable. It's not like any other party has actually come forward to make a rival bid for Cadbury, so there hasn't been much of an incentive for Kraft to raise its own.
may have lined up billions of dollars in financing for a potential bid, according to the Wall
Wall Street Journal
, but it hasn't actually come forward with an official offer. And that also applies to Italian chocolatier
the maker of Ferrero Rocher and Nutella. And while there has been much speculation of a possible offer from
as well, so far nothing concrete has materialized on that front.
The other problem for Kraft is a financial one. It probably
because, well, it can't that easily, according to an analyst cited by
. Currently, its debt levels would hinder Kraft from raising the cash element of its bid much further.
"They don't have a lot more room to raise the cash portion of their offer and still maintain (an) investment-grade rating," said Gimme Credit analyst Craig Hutson. "They have some room, but not a lot."
Right now, Kraft may be working with
to raise billions of dollars in debt to back the takeover, according to the Dow Jones report. Those banks are probably going to provide the funds as a bridge loan that will be refinanced in the high-grade bond market, according to the report.
Hutson says Kraft will have to borrow up to $6 billion to $7 billion, bringing the company's debt-to-earnings ratio to 4x from 3.35x, if and when
is done, according to the report.
And with a January 19 deadline, Kraft still has a month to sweeten its bid for Cadbury, before shareholders respond to it by February 2.
All of this, of course, is mere prelude to the results of the poll that we posted about the possible permutations of the deal the past week. And the results? Most readers of
57.2%, suggest that Kraft should walk away from the deal before it gets dragged into a bidding war and gets burned. Only 10.6% of the voters felt Kraft should hike up the bid and swat away the other potential suitors. About 32.2% of the readers took the middle ground and said Kraft should raise its offer slightly without overextending itself.
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
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