Kraft Facing Another Defection

January 18/Northbrook, Ill./Western Daily Press -- Organic chocolate maker Green & Black's is looking to buy itself out of U.S. food giant Kraft following the Cadbury takeover last year, it was reported.

Bosses at Green & Black's are hoping to secure a management buyout or to hive themselves off under a different ownership structure as they struggle to retain their entrepreneurial spirit as part of Kraft, according to the Financial Times.

Kraft acquired Green & Black's as part of its controversial acquisition of Cadbury in early 2010.

It is thought that Green & Black's approached Kraft with an initial proposal to spin-off from the firm at the end of last year, but the approach was reportedly rejected.

Cadbury bought Green & Black's six years ago for an estimated £20 million, having already taken a small stake in the group in 2002.

Green & Black's was founded as an ethical fairtrade and organic chocolate firm in 1991 by Whole Earth Foods entrepreneur Craig Sams and his wife Josephine Fairley.

It started off with a bittersweet dark chocolate bar, made with 70% cocoa solids, before branching out into different flavors.

It is thought that Green & Black's was also unhappy as part of Cadbury, despite being treated as an independent business.

Speculation over a management buyout first emerged last summer when former Cadbury chief strategy officer mark Reckitt quit Kraft to work in the U.S. while also acting as a consultant to Green & Black's for one day a week.

Green & Black's and Kraft were not immediately available for comment.

Kraft Foods later said it had no current plans to sell Green & Black's, adding the brand was "in good hands."

Michael Clarke, president of Kraft Foods Europe, said, "Kraft Foods is the world's largest chocolate company with many of the world's favorite brands including Cadbury, Milka, Toblerone, Cote d'Or and Green & Black's.

"We are also the world's largest buyer of Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance cocoa, and we understand the importance of sustainability to our consumers. Here in Europe, we will continue to invest behind growing and optimizing the entire chocolate portfolio."   

From the January 19, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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