As the trust controlling US chocolate giant Hershey prepares to go to court to defend its right to sell the firm, speculation mounts that Swiss food and drinks group Nestlé is mulling a joint bid with Cadbury Schweppes.

Nestlé is favourite to win the hand of Hershey, but the former’s ceo Peter Brabeck admitted last week that regulators could prevent the Swiss mammoth acquiring the entire company.

Consequently, rumours are rife that Cadbury will join Nestlé in the sale. Cadbury would have a strong interest in the deal, as Hershey currently distributes several of its brands, including Creme Eggs, in the US. Whoever succeeds in the sale will inherit those licensing deals.

Meanwhile, the Milton Hershey School Trust which controls the chocolate firm appears in court today to argue it has a right to sell in the first place.

The trust is fighting attempts by Pennsylvania attorney general Mike Fisher and former alumni of the school to have a temporary restraining order imposed on the deal. Both objectors fear the sale may do “irreparable harm” to the chocolate giant’s home town of Hershey.

Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff