Philadelphia, Sept. 6 (Reuters): A Pennsylvania appellate court on Thursday scheduled a September 11 hearing for oral arguments in the Hershey Trust Company’s appeal of a preliminary injunction blocking the proposed sale of Hershey Foods Corp.
The order by Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg came a day after Dauphin County Orphans Court Judge Warren Morgan imposed the injunction preventing the trust company from accepting any offer for Hershey Foods until the judge can determine whether a final deal would require court approval. The trust company, which controls 77 per cent of the shareholder voting rights in Hershey Foods, quickly appealed Morgan’s ruling to Commonwealth Court, one of the state courts that handle appellate cases in Pennsylvania.
“We regard this prompt response as a positive and will be prepared to present our case next week,” Hershey Trust Co. spokesman Rick Kelly in response to the order.
Separately, Morgan on Thursday scheduled a September 11 telephone conference to consider arguments on whether his injunction should be suspended. His order in Orphans Court set no specific time for the teleconference. The Commonwealth Court scheduled a hearing for 9:30 EDT (1330 GMT) on September 11. It also gave parties until 4 p.m. on September 9 to file briefs in support of their positions. “In said briefs, the parties shall also address the basis for this court's appellate jurisdiction over this appeal,” the order said.
“We’re prepared to make our argument in court that Judge Morgan’s decision halting the sale of Hershey Foods was the right decision. The board’s decision to appeal is the wrong decision,” said Sean Connolly, spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher, who had asked Orphans Court for an injunction.
Hershey Trust Co. proposed selling its stake in the famed maker of Hershey’s, Reese’s and Jolly Rancher candies on July 25. Wall Street analysts believe the company could fetch up to $ 12 billion.