19 May 2000

UK-based food and beverages multinational Cadbury Schweppes is in talks with French global foods giant Groupe Danone to discuss a possible combined bid for Nabisco Holdings. But according to insiders, no decision has yet been made whether to proceed with a dual proposal.

Both companies made unsuccessful independent bids for slices of Nabisco during the first round of its sell-off. Should a joint bid be successful, each would acquire those parts of Nabisco that best fit strategically. Cadbury’s main interest lies in Nabisco's confectionery brands, including LifeSavers and Breath Savers; while Danone, the world's largest biscuit company albeit without any major US brand, is eyeing the cookie and cracker business.

The duo would be competing with several other interested parties including the Philip Morris group and financier Carl C Icahn, who last week indicated his willingness to pay about $22 a share or $6.5 billion for Nabisco. Analysts believe, however, that the company could be sold for more than twice that sum.

News source: New York Times