Hershey – the Aftermath

19 September 2002

Wall Street, deprived of prospects of rich pickings, gave a sour greeting to yesterday’s news that The Milton Hershey School Trust on Tuesday overturned its own decision to auction Hershey Foods to the highest bidder – the William Wrigley Jnr Company.

Shares in Hershey plunged 12% on Wednesday, although the flags were flying in the Pennsylvania company town of Hershey, and Pennsylvania state attorney general Mike Fisher (who is running for governor) went to the governor’s official residence to measure-up for curtains.

But the jubilation was not shared by Hershey Foods’ president/ceo Richard H Lenny, not a happy man say insiders, as he mourns a lucrative deal and the approbation of Wall Street snatched from his outstretched hands at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute.

He did not go gentle into that good night, it is said.

According to an attendee at the ‘loose-ends’ meeting on Tuesday evening between Hershey and Wrigley executives, when Lenny took the call from the trust saying the sale had been withdrawn, he went into orbit. “We had a deal!”, he reportedly screamed at the trust. “You told me if I brought you a deal that was acceptable, we would all go ahead.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff