Unions have called for a “Cadbury law” to protect British companies from aggressive takeover bids.
The Unite union has warned that without new rules protecting employers from hostile foreign takeovers, many of Britain’s oldest and most established firms could be transferred abroad.
Jack Dromey, Unite deputy general secretary, said: “We need a new Cadbury Law banning hostile takeovers of successful British companies by overseas multinationals.
“Never again should the short-term interests of shareholders and the hedge-fund boys in red braces making a quick buck come before the long-term interests of household-name British companies and the thousands of jobs and families these companies support.”
The call came as a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills select committee of MPs accused Kraft of acting “irresponsibly” over the takeover of Cadbury and its pledge to keep the Somerdale factory open, the Guardian reported.
After the takeover was completed Kraft announced the factory would be shut, with 400 jobs being lost.
The MPs said they were disappointed that the sale of Cadbury was backed by “short-termist” investors, rather than shareholders “who had the company’s long-term interests at heart”.
But Peter Mandelson, secretary of state for business, said he was unconvinced that giving government the power to intervene in the public interest was either necessary or desirable.
He said: “It might give rise to capricious decision-making, and it can lead to a loss of transparency and a predictability which at the moment makes the current UK regime open to investors from which, I just underline, we benefit a great deal.”