(Reuters) - U.S. chocolate maker Hershey Co is working on a bid for Cadbury Plc that would top Kraft's hostile $17 billion takeover offer, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Following are key facts about Cadbury:
* Cadbury is the world's second-largest confectionery company after Mars-Wrigley, making brands such as Dairy Milk chocolate, Trident gum and Halls cough drops.
* Cadbury has the No. 1 or No. 2 positions in more than 20 of the world's 50 biggest confectionery markets.
* Cadbury operates in more than 60 countries and employs more than 46,000 people.
* Full-year revenue in 2008 came to 5.4 billion pounds ($8.80 billion) with underlying operating profit of 638 million pounds.
* Started life in 1824 with John Cadbury opening a shop in Birmingham selling tea and cocoa.
* Merged with Schweppes in 1969 to create Cadbury Schweppes.
* Became the world's biggest confectionery group in 2003 after buying the U.S. Adams chewing gum business for $4.2 billion.
* Sold continental European business to Lion and Blackstone for 1.85 billion euros ($2.69 billion) in February 2006.
* Demerged Cadbury Schweppes Plc in May 2008 following shareholder pressure, creating the London-listed confectionery group Cadbury Plc and U.S. soft drinks group Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
* In March 2009, sold Australian beverage business Schweppes Australia to Asahi Breweries for A$1.185 billion ($769.5 million), completing its exit from soft drinks.
* In January 2010 Kraft Foods Inc sweetened its 10.2 billion pound offer for Cadbury with cash, as the U.S. food company's hostile takeover attempt entered its final month.
* Hershey authorized drawing up a bid for Cadbury and a formal offer could be made within two weeks, the Financial Times said on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Hershey has until January 23 to make a bid under UK Takeover Panel rules.