DealZone

Hershey’s day in the sun

January 26, 2010

HERSHEYWith the smell of Cadbury Cream Eggs and Kraft cheese slices thick in the air, Nestle could well be getting hungry for some M&A. Will the Kraft-Cadbury deal soften the Hershey Trust enough for a Nestle merger?

Nestle has plenty of firepower with $28 billion from the sale of its remaining stake in eyecare group Alcon and Hershey might be seen as no more than a large bolt-on. In addition, Hershey is one deal Nestle could do without big anti-trust issues.

And as David Jones reports, from a Hershey perspective, some heat may be softening the the Hershey Trust’s aversion to a deal.

The fact that Hershey had been actively trying to fund a bid for Cadbury, even if it ultimately failed, has raised speculation about its future, as has the fact that 85 percent of its sales come from the U.S. market, where Kraft is likely to attack it with Cadbury products.

Hershey, as a pure confectionery player, is also more exposed to commodity costs like cocoa and sugar than wider ranging groups.

With deals flowing again, Kraft is expected to have no trouble drawing demand for a massive bond sale, so we just might see the maker of Kit Kat and Coffee Crisp getting up and cozy with the maker of Hershey’s Kisses.

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