Hershey Sale Hit by Litigation

28 August 2002

The mooted sale of chocolate and candy colossus Hershey Foods by its controlling trust is now the subject of legal wrangling after Pennsylvania’s attorney general filed for an injunction against the auction.

Attorney general Mike Fisher believes the takeover of Hershey could hurt the eponymous town in Pennsylvania that depends on it. Opposition has also been voiced by politicians and unions.

Fisher’s attempts to block a sale have prompted defensive legal action by the Milton Hershey School Trust, owner of 77% of the chocolate firm’s voting rights. The trust argues that it has a fiduciary obligation to consider a possible sale.

The prospect of swallowing Hershey has attracted interest from Swiss food and drinks mammoth Nestlé and US rival Kraft. Indeed, Nestlé, the favourite to walk away with the candy group, is said to have made a preliminary bid of $11.5 billion (€11.8bn; £7.5bn).

The Milton Hershey School Trust says it will view the bids on offer before deciding whether to proceed with a sale. It is thought that only a premium price will be enough to prompt a deal.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff