No, Hershey does not own Nestlé. They are two separate companies based in different countries.
The Hershey Company is a publically traded company that trades under the stock symbol HSY. The company is headquartered in Hershey, Pennslyvania. Globally, it has 18,000 employees and over 80 brands that bring in about $7.8 billion in revenue. In addition to chocolate, the company produces other products such as chewing gum, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and chocolate milk. Some of their most popular products include Kisses, Hershey’s Bar, and Reese’s.
Nestlé is headquartered in Switzerland and is also a publically traded company that trades under the stock symbol NSRGY. They are the world’s largest food and beverage company. They have 2,000 brands in 187 countries. Their 2019 total annual sales were over $100 billion in U.S. dollars. The top-selling categories of Nestlé are powered & liquid beverages, nutrition & health science, milk products & ice cream, and PetCare. The chocolate & sugar confectionery segment contributed only about $7.3 billion in U.S. dollars to Nestlé sales.
Hershey and Nestle have been involved in a few notable market transactions (or lack therefore) over the previous two decades. Here are some of the more newsworthy events:
Hershey’s Failed to Acquire U.S. Retail Chocolate Market of Nestlé
Interestingly, Hershey lost a bid to the Luxembourg-based confectioner, Ferrero Group in 2018 for Nesté’s U.S. retail chocolate market. 20 brands were acquired by Ferrero from Nestlé that included iconic products such as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Crunch, Nerds, and SweeTarts. This deal allowed Ferrero to move into the number three spot for the U.S. chocolate market share behind Hershey’s and Mars.
While on the surface this appears to be a major loss for Hershey, some analysts believe that it will allow the company to focus on producing products outside of chocolates/candy that may have more favorable returns on investment.
Hershey Rejected Takeover Bids from Mondelez and Wrigley
Mondelez International is headquartered in Chicago and is the company behind such brands as Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Ritz, Toblerone, Trident, Halls, and many more well-known products. They offered $23 billion in a takeover bid for Hershey in 2016. The Hershey Trust, which controls 81% of the company, swiftly rejected the offer.
Similarly, in 2002 Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Wrigley) offered $12.5 billion for Hershey, which the trust also rejected. Wrigley went on to be acquired by Mars in 2008 for $23 billion with the backing by billionaire Warren Buffett.
Top 10 Candy Companies – Globally
Based on net sales in 2019, the top 10 candy companies are as follows:
|Rank||Company||Net Sales (millions) estimate|
|5||The Hershey Company||$7,779|
|7||Lindt of Switzerland||$4,374|
|10||Perfetti Van Melle Spa||$3,086|