(By Bob Blandeburgo
) Is a bidding war brewing for Cadbury PLC (NYSE ADR: CBY
In a widely anticipated move, Nestle SA (PINK: NSRGY
) said yesterday (Monday) that it would sell its remaining 52% stake of Alcon Inc. (NYSE: ACN
) to Swiss drug maker Novartis AG (NYSE ADR: NVS
) for about $28 billion. That influx of cash could give Nestle the financial firepower to go up against Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE: KFT
) in a competing bid for Cadbury.
Nestle is always "open to acquisition opportunities if they fit strategically
," Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke told The Wall Street Journal
Bulcke declined to comment
on a possible deal with Cadbury in a November interview with The Journal
. But on Dec. 5, two people familiar with the talks
that Hershey had contact with Nestle about a possible partnership to counter Kraft's hostile takeover of Cadbury.
The notion of a Nestle bid for Cadbury has merit. Among the escalating activity in the merger-and-acquisition (M&A) market
is marked growth in deals among food companies. For instance, PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP
) is proposing buyouts
of The Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. (NYSE: PBG
) and PepsiAmericas Inc. (NYSE: PAS
Kraft's bid for Cadbury - so far uncontested - is expected to be rejected by shareholders today (Tuesday).