Hershey Looks for New Owner
On putting itself up for sale, Hershey Foods Co. awoke to find major food companies already chomping at the bit, reports Reuters. Kraft, Nestle and Cadbury Schweppes Plc top analysts’ lists for bidders.
The Milton Hershey School Trust, a charitable foundation that controls 77 percent of Hershey’s voting power, says it decided to put the candy maker up for sale to diversify its holdings. Some 52 percent of the trust’s assets currently consist of Hershey stock, and its decision to sell follows a deep slump in global stock markets.
The consolidation of the global food industry, which spun off deals like Unilever Plc’s purchase of Bestfoods and Kellogg Co.’s buyout of cookie maker Keebler, is accelerating again after a lull. Two companies have put food properties on the market recently. Pfizer put its Adams candy division up for sale earlier this summer. And ConAgra is trying to close on the sale of the majority of its fresh meat business to a private investor group.
Moderator Comment: How will the sale of Hershey Foods to either Kraft or Nestle affect the candy category?
With Hershey’s and Adams up for sale, the confectionery
business might look substantially different in a couple years time. Kraft or
Nestle might be able to wrap up both. If that happens, it will be interesting
to see how Wrigley and Masterfoods react. [George
Anderson – Moderator]