Is Organic Company Green & Black Chocolate Trying to Get Out of Kraft?


Photo: Guardian

Green & Black Chocolate was the little organic company that grew and grew: so big and popular that it was bought out by Cadbury in 2005 to the tune of £20M.

Then last year Kraft Foods bought Cadbury. Now, according to the Financial Times, it is rumoured that the marriage is not working so well and Green & Black's current managers want to buy out Kraft and re-gain control of the chocolate brand. Whew! When is a sell-out a sell out....
Photo: slashfood

At the time of Kraft's buy-out, Craig Sams,the former owner, and president, had this to say about the deal:

"If Kraft screwed up with Green & Black's it would damage their reputation and cast a shadow over their competence. But there is no reason to expect them to goof. They have converted US household names like Oreos and Ritz crackers to organic and even do an organic macaroni-and-cheese dinner....I have no idea if Kraft will ask me to stay on as president, but if they don't that could be your canary in the coal mine."

It seems that he wasn't quite right.... The rumours from the Financial Times are that the current management are "considering a separate ownership structure, with a management buy-out (MBO) as it would enable the group to keep managers incentivised by linking performance to compensation."

It seems that the firm's management is said to be struggling to retain an entrepreneurial spirit now that they are part of the food giant Kraft.

The price of the company would probably not be as high as the £20M paid in 2005 because the company is not so valuable any more; its growth has declined.

There have been many stories in the British press about the failed marriage between Cadbury and Kraft. Several of the top Cadbury people have left the company since the merger. Then in July, Cadbury's chief strategy officer quit and joined Green & Black as a one-day a week consultant.

Trevor Bond, who heads Kraft Foods in Europe, had a pretty unfriendly thing to say about the small chocolate company: "Green & Black's is £40m out of a £1bn chocolate business [in the UK]. I would sell more Creme Eggs."

Stay tuned for more news on this one--or not since Kraft isn't commenting.

More on Buy-Outs
Can Green Companies Keep Their Soul When Sold?
What Does Kraft's Take Over of Cadbury Mean for Fairtrade Cocoa?
When is a Sell Out a Sell Out

Tags: Consumerism | Corporate Responsibility

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