The European Commission has set a one-month deadline to review Kraft Foods Inc's $16 billion hostile bid for British chocolate maker Cadbury after the U.S. food group notified EU regulators.
The Commission, the competition watchdog of the 27-nation European Union, said it would decide on the takeover by December 14. It gave no further details.
Kraft Foods formalized its offer for Cadbury on Monday, setting the stage for a hostile takeover battle that could last several more months.
It repeated the cash and shares terms of its original proposal made two months ago, which Cadbury again rejected as derisory.
The EU executive must review all mergers and acquisitions above a certain turnover threshold in the European Union. It could clear the North American food giant's bid if it finds no anti-competitive concerns in the deal.
Should there be any concerns, Kraft could offer remedies such as divestments or asset sales. In such a case, the Commission may extend its deadline for its decision by 10 working days to study the remedies offered.
The Commission could also send a so-called statement of objections to Kraft if it is not happy with aspects of the deal.
It could also open a detailed second-stage investigation for up to 90 additional working days, which it may extend to 105 working days.
(Reporting by Bate Felix, Editing by Greg Mahlich)