Any bid for UK confectioner Cadbury by Italian chocolate maker Ferrero would have to be friendly, an Italian source close to the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
You cannot do an operation of this kind unless it's friendly, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Ferrero declined to comment.
Cadbury is currently facing a $16.8 billion hostile bid from Kraft Food Inc, and on Wednesday, U.S.-based Hershey Co and family-owned Ferrero said separately they were reviewing a possible rival bid.
They did not specify whether they would combine efforts or prepare two different offers.
A friendly offer in such circumstances usually includes a sweetener for shareholders and some continuity of management.
The source added that there is currently a lot of uncertainty and any outcome is possible.