By Marcus Leach

Monday will see the biggest overhaul of UK merger and acquisition rules as the Takeover Panel announces major changes.

The changes come in the wake of Kraft's controversial acquisition of Cadbury, with the new rules aimed at strengthening UK target companies against opportunistic and unwelcome predators.

Kraft's aggressive bid saw them acquire Cadbury in 2009, but they caused controversy when they closed one of the Cadbury factories, going back on an earlier promise not to close the factory.

The new-look Takeover Code includes:

- requiring potential bidders to announce a firm intention to bid or withdraw within 28 days of being identified;
- target companies must announce all bidders when the offer period launches, and break fees will be outlawed.

Greater disclosure will also be required on advisers' fees, bidders' financing and bidders' plans for the target company.

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