ZURICH, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Nestle SA said on Monday it would not comment on a USA Today newspaper report that it was offering about $11.5 billion to acquire U.S. chocolate maker Hershey Foods Corp.
"Nestle does not comment on market fantasy,'' a spokesman for the world's largest food company, which has lately been on the acquisition trail, told Reuters when asked about the report.
Citing sources familiar with the offer, USA Today said Nestle had presented a preliminary bid of $82 to $85 a share after senior executives toured Hershey factories twice last week and reviewed the confectionery maker's financial data.
Sources close to the situation confirmed to Reuters in the United States that Nestle, along with several other companies, had toured the Hershey manufacturing facilities and started reviewing the company's financial records in recent weeks.
However, these sources said any bid for Hershey at this point was preliminary and negotiations could fall apart at any time. Nestle so far has only confirmed it was negotiating a possible deal.
Both Nestle and Kraft Foods Inc have expressed serious interest in bidding for Hershey so far, sources said.
Hershey Foods stock, which traded at $62.50 per share just before news of a possible sale emerged last month, closed on Friday at $75.03, up 24 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.
Nestle shares had shed 1.7 percent to 325 Swiss francs around 0735 GMT.
"If there is a Hershey deal, there could be (credit) downgrades. People might think Nestle has been a bit too acquisitive and will have integration problems,'' said Zuercher Kantonalbank market strategist Claude Zehnder.
So I wonder what would happen with the city of Hershey and Hershey Park?
Coaster Art of your Favorite Coasters
Hasn't this been discussed ad nauseum??
Scott W. Short
Not news... Hershey the chocolate people and Hershey the amusement people share only the name and the city. They are unrelated.
Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"Let's stop saying 'don't quote me,' because if no one quotes you, you probably haven't said a thing worth saying." - Dogma, KMFDM