Britain's Takeover Panel granted confectionery maker Cadbury three extra days to publish 2009 results that could become a key plank in its defense against Kraft Food's hostile 10 billion pound ($15.9 billion) bid.

Cadbury has warned shareholders not to let the U.S. food group steal the business and -- under British takeover rules -- originally had until January 12 to publish any material new information to fend off the takeover bid.

However, (the panel) ... has ruled that, solely in respect of the release of detailed estimated trading results for 2009, this deadline will be extended to 0700 GMT (2 a.m. EST) on Friday, 15 January, the panel said in a statement.

Both parties had accepted the ruling and nothing else in the timetable would change, the panel said.

Cadbury said in an emailed statement it was pleased that our shareholders will be given the opportunity to review the most up-to-date information available on our trading performance as they evaluate the Kraft offer.

A spokesman declined to elaborate further, or to say exactly what information it would publish when.

Kraft's cash-and-share offer currently values the British group at 748 pence per share, a 6 modest percent discount to its latest share price of 793 pence.

The group on December 14 raised the prospect of higher rival bids, saying that Hershey and Italy's Ferrero had both indicated they were also contemplating bids. But so far no second offer has materialized.

Ferrero said on December 27 nothing had changed in its position that it was in the preliminary stages of evaluating options in respect of Cadbury, after Italian newspaper La Stampa reported the privately held group's interest had cooled.

In its December 14 defense against Kraft, Cadbury promised bigger dividends, raising its underlying annual sales growth target and detailed guidance for operating margins by 2013.

(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; editing by John Stonestreet)