The proposed $12bn sale of US confectionery giant Hershey was this week abandoned, but not after jostling by those keen to buy it
The sale of Hershey was the big news of the year in confectionery but this week it was revealed it was not proceeding.
Industry commentators were stunned when the controlling trust behind Hershey put the US confectionery giant up for sale last month.
Early speculation put Kraft Foods and Nestl頡s favourite purchasers, although Nestl頣hief Peter Brabeck took the unusual step of denying he would pay $12bn ­ even though the purchase would give Nestl頴he number one spot in the US where it is currently number three behind Hershey and Mars.
It would have appealed to Nestl頦or one factor alone ­ ensuring it regained the licensing rights to its Kit Kat brand in the US, which it has been keen to take back from Hershey.
Speculation followed that Nestlé ­ight join forces with Cadbury Schweppes for the buyout as the latter also has the US marketing rights of products licensed out to Hershey of which it would like to regain control.
The alliance also looked appealing to those who reasoned that even if Nestlé ¯nly kept half of Hershey's current US market share, it would still be number one, with some 30% of the market. But a spokesman for Hershey's charitable trust this week called off any deals, simply saying: "The trust board has rejected all the bids it received."
Whether it was a case that those bids were not high enough, or that the board capitulated to a wave of protest from US workers, politicians and the public, remains to be seen.
Also up for sale in the US is Adams Foods, which Pfizer is selling after inheriting the gum and mints business from its merger with Warner-Lambert. Onlookers say Adams would be a good fit for Cadbury Schweppes, which has been busy buying up gum brands abroad.
Earlier this year it acquired the branded chewing gum business of Dandy ­ the fourth largest chewing gum manufacturer in the word ­ from the Bagger-Sorensen family in Denmark for £201m.
John Sunderland, ceo of Cadbury Schweppes, says: "Dandy significantly extends our participation in chewing gum."