Cadbury Plc would prefer a merger with U.S. chocolate maker Hershey Co rather than Kraft Foods Inc , the British company's chairman Roger Carr told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
However, he said both U.S. groups would fail if they cannot finance generous bids, the paper reported.
Hershey is considering launching a bid of at least $17 billion for Cadbury as it seeks to trump a hostile $16.5 billion offer by Kraft, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Clearly, whilst some potential offerors are more aligned with our business model than others, it is the value of the offer rather than the source of the offer that is our priority, Carr told the Sunday Telegraph.
Cadbury shares closed at 800.5 pence on Friday, valuing the company at about 11 billion pounds ($16.5 billion). In recent notes, analysts have said Cadbury is worth about 850-900 pence a share.
We're focused on delivering value to shareholders as a standalone pure-play confectioner, a Cadbury spokesman said on Sunday.
We have always said that we would give proper consideration to any serious offer that delivers full value for the company. Unless and until we find ourselves in that situation we have nothing to comment upon. (Reporting by Julie Crust; editing by Jon Loades-Carter)