The trust that controls Hershey Foods has decided not to sell after all. (I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, but Radio’s not great about providing an index of past posts.)
Most of the voting stock in Hershey is held by a charitable trust that runs an extremely well-funded school for orphans in the city of Hershey, PA. Hershey, besides being the corporate home, is also sort of a chocolate theme park. An eerie and amazing place, really.
A few months ago, the trust decided that it ought to be more diversified, and announced that it wanted to sell its stake in the company. A chocolate storm ensued (well, not chocolate, but you get the idea) with officials at the local, state, and national levels indicating that any sale — particularly to European interests such as Nestle and Cadbury Schwepps — would be examined most closely. It’s not just the company, you see. Everyone was afraid that the chocolate plant, and the economy of central Pennsylvania, would be closed. (Read the last few grafs to see how the 2002 election factored into the mix.)
Last last night, despite a $12.5 billion offer from Wrigley that it was about to accept, the trust decided to hell with it and took the company off the market.
If you want to know more about the super-secretive chocolate industry, I strongly recommend you seek out and read The Emperors of Chocolate.