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August 30, 2016

Hershey Takeover Bid Dead; Uncertainty at Trust a Factor

A corporate rival’s monthslong bid to acquire Hershey Co. is over following a rebuff of the latest takeover offer by the charitable trust that controls the giant chocolatier, reports The Wall Street Journal. Sources familiar with the matter told the newspaper that changing dynamics at the Hershey Trust would make it difficult for the candy company to strike any merger deal before next year.

The $12.3 billion charity, which operates a private boarding school for low-income youths and controls 81 percent of Hershey Co. voting shares, is overhauling its board and governance under an agreement with Pennsylvania regulators following years of financial scandals and internal squabbles.

Mondelez International, maker of Oreos and other popular snack brands, made a $23 billion bid for Hershey in June, but its offer of $107 a share was rejected by the trust. The suitor upped the offer to $115 a share last week, according to the Journal, but Hershey set a floor of $125 and said any deal would have to wait for the reconstitution of the trust, a process not expected to be done before late 2017. Mondelez said in a statement Monday that it was calling off the pursuit, which aimed to create the world’s largest candy company.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion column on the Hershey Trust's troubles and its deal with Pennsylvania officials.