Monday, April 28, 2008

Cadbury eyes Hershey as Mars chews up Wrigley

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LONDON (Reuters) - Mars' bumper $23 billion agreed takeover of Wrigley (WWY.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is set to reignite Cadbury Schweppes' (CBRY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) effort to sweet talk Hershey (HSY.N: Quote, Profile, Research) into a merger as the world's confectionery market becomes ever more competitive, analysts said on Monday.

The deal between the world's biggest chocolate maker, family owned M&M's maker Mars, and the globe's biggest gum maker, Wm Wrigley Jr Co, will push Cadbury off the world's top spot in confectionery just as the London-based group is planning a demerger of its soft drinks business.

The Mars-Wrigley deal will prompt Cadbury to re-start talks with the U.S.'s biggest chocolate maker Hershey Co, and the British group will hope the surprise linkup will push Hershey's controlling trust into talks, analysts added.

"Cadbury will have to look at its options and the most obvious is to re-open talks with Hershey over a merger," said Investec Securities analyst Martin Deboo.


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