The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nestle not ready to pay $ 12 bn for Hershey

Zurich, Aug. 30 (Reuters): Nestle SA chief executive Peter Brabeck dismissed as “fantasy” the idea that US anti-trust officials would allow the world’s biggest food company to acquire US chocolate maker Hershey Foods.

While he declined to flatly rule out a bid for Hershey, he told the Wall Street Journal Europe in an interview published on Friday that he would not pay $ 12 billion for the company, as some analysts have suggested.

“Yes, (buying Hershey) would take me to an end-game situation” as leader in the US chocolate market, “but I’m not sure whether the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) will play, so it’s a theoretical question,” he told the newspaper.

“Hershey has 43 per cent (market share), we have 12 per cent. Can you imagine the FTC saying, ‘Congratulations! Beautiful!’'

I cannot believe the FTC would accept this. It is fantasy to think you would get regulatory approval in the US to combine 43 per cent with 12 per cent.”

He declined to comment on whether Nestle could structure the deal in such a way that it could win regulatory approval or if breaking up Hershey would be an option.

But he told the paper that a dismantled Hershey would not be worth anything near the $ 12 billion that some analysts had said the US chocolate market leader would command.

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