Cadbury’s parent company made a takeover bid for Hershey’s

Confectionary merger.
Confectionary merger.
Image: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico
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Update: Hershey has roundly rejected Mondelēz International’s $23 billion takeover bid.

Global snack food giant Mondelez International has made a bid to acquire the Pennsylvania-based confectioner the Hershey Company, according to multiple media reports.

If accepted, the deal would be a merger between two titans, marrying the makers of some of the world’s best-known cookies and chocolates. (Mondelez owns Cadbury, Nabisco, and a slew of other brands.) A spokesperson with Mondelez wouldn’t comment about a bid, but indicated the company would have information to release soon. Hershey’s global food sales sit at about $10 billion, with 80% of those sales generated in the US alone. Mondelez has a market value of about $69 billion.

“From a geographic perspective, the move makes sense,” said Jack Skelly, an analyst at Euromonitor. “Mondelez has achieved its position as the second largest confectionery manufacturer in the world without any sizable presence in the US–the world’s largest chocolate confectioner market.”

If the merger were to take place, Skelly added, it would make Mondelez the largest confectionary player in the world.

Mondelez wouldn’t be the first multinational food corporation to flirt with the idea of acquiring Hershey’s. Talks of a deal between the company and Swiss-based Nestlé, the world’s largest food company by revenue, have been rumored. Such a deal seems unlikely, however, as it doesn’t align with Nestlé’s push into nutrition and health science products, said Euromonitor food analyst Lianne van den Bos.

If the Mondelez deal is accepted by the Hershey’s Trust, the Wall Street Journal reports (paywall), Mondelez executives would pledge to protect jobs, relocate its headquarters from New Jersey to Hershey, Pennsylvania, and operate under Hershey’s name.