HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- Candy maker Hershey Co. said Friday that it has no plan to bid soon for British competitor Cadbury LLC, making it all but certain that Kraft Foods Inc.'s $19.5 billion bid will proceed without competition.
The Hershey Co., which had three more days to make a competing bid, left itself room to reconsider later, however.
The company, maker of Hershey's kisses, Reese's peanut candies and other confections, said it is reserving the right to participate in a Cadbury offer within six months if some conditions are met.
In order for Hershey to make an offer or be part of one in that time frame, Cadbury's board must approve of such action -- assuming Kraft's bid has not become wholly unconditional. Hershey also may make an offer if a third-party bid comes in, if a reverse takeover is announced or if there is another material change of circumstances.
If the Kraft deal goes through, it would create the world's largest candy company. Kraft, based in Northfield, Ill., boosted its offer for Cadbury by 9 percent to $19.5 billion on Tuesday.
The combined company would have 40 major candy and gum brands and more than $50 billion in annual revenue. It would edge out Mars Co. from the top of the candy industry.
The takeover also would broaden open opportunities globally for Kraft to sell its other snacks. Kraft, the world's second-largest food company overall, makes Oreo cookies, its namesake cheese and other packaged foods.
Shareholders of Cadbury, which makes Cadbury Dairy Milk, Trident, Dentyne, Bazooka and other products, are expected to approved the Kraft offer by the Feb. 2 deadline. The deal is expected to close next month.
Copyright 2010 The AP.