Nestle: No Comment on Reported Hershey Bid

ZURICH, Switzerland - Swiss food and beverage company Nestle SA today declined to comment on a report it made a preliminary bid of around $11.5 billion for U.S. chocolate company Hershey Foods Corp., Dow Jones Newswires reports.

"Nestle doesn't comment on market fantasies," spokesman Francois-Xavier Perroud told Dow Jones Newswires.

USA Today reported today that Nestle offered to buy Hershey for between $82 and $85 a share.

Nestle has been named as a potential bidder for Hershey, along with other food companies such as Philip Morris Cos. Inc.'s Kraft Foods Inc. and the United Kingdom's Cadbury Schweppes PLC (CSG).

Pennsylvania's attorney general is attempting to get a court to block the sale of Hershey Foods by its controlling trust, saying it could hurt the local community.

The move is the latest sign of the growing backlash against the proposed sale. Unions, former trustees, and alumni of the Milton Hershey School, beneficiary of Hershey's controlling trust, have all voiced opposition.

Analysts believe the sale could value America's largest chocolate maker at up to $12 billion. Some consider Nestle an unlikely bidder for Hershey because the Swiss company's acquisition strategy has been to acquire small-to-medium businesses focused on the growth areas of the industry, which chocolate makers aren't.
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