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LONDON and Milan -- Confectionery company suitors Ferrero and The Hershey Co. would likely break Cadbury up into separate businesses if a bid for the company succeeds, Reuters reported, citing an Italian newspaper.
Italian chocolate maker Ferrero and U.S.-based Hershey revealed last week they were reviewing a possible offer for Cadbury, which is also fending off a hostile $16.5 billion bid by U.S. food group Kraft Foods Inc.
Unlisted Ferrero is mainly interested in Cadbury's gum and candy division, a unit worth about 5 billion euros ($7.4 billion), according to the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, which also reported the family that controls the Italian firm has historically shown little interest in sharing management.
A source close to Ferrero told Reuters the company was still evaluating all options concerning Cadbury, while another source close to the matter told the news agency any bid would have to be friendly.
A Ferrero spokesman declined to comment.
People with knowledge of the situation told Newswire Dow Jones that Ferrero and Hershey are still deciding whether to bid for all of Cadbury or only a large stake, Reuters reported.
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