The world of candy making is becoming a bit ruthless as companies vie for greater market share. Confectionery companies are fighting to acquire a major candy maker, and related exchange traded funds (ETFs) could benefit from the greater market efficiency.

Kraft Foods’ (NYSE: KFT) ambition to acquire British confectioner Cadbury plc (NYSE: CBY), the world’s largest confectionery maker, has been thwarted by Italy’s Ferrero and the U.S. company Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY), both of whom are considering a counter-strike, reports Kristy Dorsey for Scotsman.

Multiple sources say the two firms are discussing a joint bid to rival Kraft. There is also  speculation that Hershey will launch a solo bid of $17 billion. Kraft currently values Cadbury shares at $16.4 billion. (Why food and beverage is getting a lift).

Kraft has till Dec. 7 to tender its official offer and Ferrero/Hershey or any other interested parties have until early February to rival the offer. Cadbury remains coy and maintains that it is not for sale, but would “give proper consideration to any serious offer that delivers full value for the company.”

Cadbury has seen some improved financial performance, which includes a 7% rise in revenue during the three months ending Sept. 30. The company has benefited from double-digit sales growth in emerging markets like the Middle East, Africa, South Africa and Asia.