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Cadbury to cut 7,500 jobs by 2011

June 20, 2007|From the Associated Press

LONDON — Cadbury Schweppes said Tuesday that it planned to close 15% of its candy factories by 2011, cutting about 7,500 jobs, and would probably sell the U.S. unit that makes 7Up, Dr Pepper and Snapple soft drinks.

The company had announced in March that it planned to separate its drinks and candy businesses -- under pressure from investors led by U.S. billionaire Nelson Peltz -- but had not indicated whether it would sell the beverage business or spin it off to shareholders.

Although the London-based company said Tuesday that it was still pursuing "a twin-track process," it appeared that the beverage business would be sold.

A sale would be expected to generate $14 billion to $16 billion, said Jeremy Batstone-Carr, analyst at Charles Stanley in London.

Friday was the deadline for expressions of interest. Private equity groups and Canadian bottler Cott Corp. are thought to be among the possible bidders.

Cadbury, which employs about 50,000 people in its candy and gum business, has 35 confectionery factories across Europe, the Middle East and Asia and 59 other bottling and manufacturing sites worldwide.

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