January 10, 2010
Why we are watching: Rosenfeld has staked her legacy at Northfield-based Kraft on a $16 billion-plus bid for Cadbury PLC. The British confectionary giant would be a welcome addition to Kraft, juicing sales growth and giving it a bigger international footprint. But Rosenfeld's Cadbury play is fraught with risk: When big deals go bad, they become big failures.Kraft, the world's second-largest packaged-food company, so far has little to show for its efforts. Since Kraft went public with the bid in early September, Cadbury's board has steadfastly dismissed it as a lowball affair. The deal has gone hostile, with Kraft taking its offer straight to Cadbury shareholders, but they haven't seemed too impressed so far either.
Meanwhile, Kraft's biggest shareholder, investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett, turned up the heat on Rosenfeld last week, issuing a public warning of sorts on Cadbury. Buffett is worried Kraft wants Cadbury so badly that it will overpay. Kraft pledges it will maintain its discipline. Rosenfeld will be tested, particularly if a rival food-maker -- notably Hershey Co. -- submits a competing bid.
-- Mike Hughlett