Hershey rejects $23bn Mondelez takeover offer

Hershey's chocolate bar Image copyright AP

Hershey has rejected a $23bn (£17bn) offer from Mondelez that would bring some of the world's best known biscuit and chocolate brands under one roof.

A deal would have merged the maker of the famous Hershey's chocolate bar with Mondelez's Oreo and Cadbury brands.

And it would have combined Hershey's strong US business with Mondelez's global distribution footprint.

Hershey's controlling shareholder, the Hershey Trust, is a $12bn charity created by the firm's founder in 1894.

Hershey said in a statement: "The board of directors of the company unanimously rejected the indication of interest and determined that it provided no basis for further discussion between Mondelez and the company."

According to the Reuters news agency, a source said Mondelez had sought to provide assurances to Hershey that it would keep its name and preserve jobs.

Mondelez sees little antitrust risk given the limited geographic overlap of the two companies' businesses, Reuters says.

Mondelez is the second-largest confectionary company globally while Hershey ranks number five.

Their merger would have put them in the top place, with 18% of the market, according to research firm Euromonitor International.

A merged company would have leapfrogged Mars, which has 13.3% of the global market.

There will be speculation that Mondelez could return with a higher offer, but RBC Capital Markets analyst David Palmer said he did not think a deal would ultimately happen. The Hershey Trust's mission statement is that it keeps control of the business.

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