Put-up-or-shut-up

In an effort to buy Cadbury PLC, Kraft Foods Inc has an ally of sorts in Great Britain's legal framework for takeovers, reports the Chicago Tribune. 

In the U.S., a targeted company and its management can fight back with a poison pill or use delaying tactics, but in the UK takeovers have rigid timetables, are shepherded by a powerful regulatory body called the Takeover Panel, which prohibits lengthy and expensive court fights. Another common U.S. takeover defense - staggered terms for corporate directors, which means a buyer can unseat a board of directors in one swift motion - is also prohibited. 

In the matter of Cadbury, regulators were called into action after the company issued what is called a "put-up-or-shut up" notice to Kraft, and the panel will give Kraft a deadline to make a formal offer, probably within the next month. Kraft's informal bid is roughly $16 billion, but a formal offer carries more weight and regulatory meaning under UK rules, so, according to analysts, Kraft is expected to up its bid in the formal offer.  

Meanwhile, in a closed conference with investors, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America sales specialist Simon Archer said he spoke with Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer, reports FoodNavigator.com. 

Archer published a note which said: "Todd admitted that there is some strategic sense in combining the two companies and he doesn't expect Kraft to walk away, so his job is to get as much value as possible."