On 19 January 2010 just before the news broke that the Cadbury Board had unanimously recommended that its shareholders should accept an increased takeover bid from the giant multinational, Kraft, I put out a statement, with fellow local MPs, Richard Burden, Steve McCabe and Gisela Stuart.
I immediately applied to the Speaker for an Urgent Question to be taken in the House of Commons that afternoon. This was turned down but I was subsequently granted a half hour adjournment debate on Tuesday 26 January at the end of the day's business in the Main Chamber, pictured below.
Click here to read the debate.
TAKEOVER OF CADBURY 20.01.2010
That this House notes with deep concern the decision by the board of Cadbury to recommend the bid for the company by Kraft; further notes Kraft's heavily indebted position; fears that the takeover may result in plant closures and job losses; and urges the Government to examine takeover legislation with the greatest urgency with a view to providing some degree of security against predatory takeovers.
JOINT STATEMENT ON CADBURY
19 January 2010
We are very concerned about reports that Cadbury’s Board may be about to recommend acceptance of a revised takeover bid by Kraft. To us, all the arguments about the importance of keeping Cadbury’s independent as a successful and profitable British company remain as valid today as they were last month.
We think a takeover by Kraft could pose real dangers for jobs, innovation and the skill base in the West Midlands. We worry about the kind of future that Cadbury’s would have as part of this giant multinational whose corporate priorities are decided a long way away from the West Midlands and from those other areas of which Cadbury’s has long been a part.
If the Cadbury’s board do indeed recommend acceptance of the Kraft offer, a big responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Cadbury’s shareholders when they come to make a decision. The future of a company so important to the industrial base of this region and the UK should be about more than short term profit – whether for hedge funds or for anyone else. We hope shareholders will think carefully about that when they come to make a decision.
Whatever the final decision of shareholders, the protection of jobs and the long term future of Cadbury’s will remain our priority in the weeks and months ahead.
We think what has been happening to Cadbury’s also illustrates the vulnerability of UK companies to hostile or predatory takeovers. This is something which both Parliament and Government needs to address.
LYNNE JONES MP Birmingham Selly Oak
RICHARD BURDEN MP Birmingham Northfield
STEVE McCABE MP Birmingham Hall Green
GISELA STUART MP Birmingham Edgbaston