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Kraft Wins Cadbury Bid

CHICAGO -- After weeks of negotiations, Kraft Foods won the approval of Cadbury stakeholders in its bid to take over the iconic candy maker.

The final offer was worth $18.9 billion, up from its previous $17.1 billion proposal, according to Forbes and Associated Press reports. The Cadbury board unanimously approved the bid, which offered 500 pence ($8.15) cash and 0.1874 new Kraft shares for each Cadbury share.

In a statement, Robert Carr, chairman of Cadbury, discussed his approval of the takeover bid: "We believe the offer represents good value for Cadbury shareholders and are pleased with the commitment that Kraft Foods has made to our heritage, values and people throughout the world."

On Friday, William Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP purchased a 2-percent stake in Kraft, according to Forbes The stake was reportedly worth more than $930 million and was comprised of at least 32 million shares.

Before the Tuesday approval, Kraft attempted to improve its bid by increasing the cash component of the offer. On Jan. 5, Kraft confirmed the sale of an American pizza unit to Nestlé for $3.7 billion.

Earlier in January, the company's largest shareholder, Warren Buffett, reported his firm Berkshire Hathaway would vote down a proposal to issue more shares to fund the Cadbury bid, the report noted. Berkshire has a 9.4-percent stake in Kraft.

The combination of Kraft and Cadbury makes the U.S. food maker the leading company in candies and chocolates, with a portfolio of more than 40 confectionery brands, the company said in a press release.

Kraft's CEO Irene Rosenfeld emphasized the deal's benefits to the company's shareholders saying it "transforms the portfolio, accelerates long-term growth and delivers highly attractive returns, while maintaining financial discipline."

With the announcement, Cadbury shares increased by more than 5 percent, while Kraft shares fell nearly 2 percent.

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