The folks on the powerful Hershey Trust should be ashamed of themselves as they prepare to sun it up during the long holiday weekend. Not to take Mondelez’s interest as serious from the get-go was concerning from a pure shareholder-rights perspective. While the trust, which owns 81% of the voting stock on Hershey, has an obligation to maintain Milton Hershey’s ideals (such as supporting local under-privileged kids), it also has an obligation to maximize the value of the company — and to its shareholders. For Hershey CEO John Bilbrey to toss back to Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld that its $125 a share bid would be the starting point for negotiations — meaning the very fair $115 bid that Mondelez reportedly offered last week (up from $107 originally) was nowhere near acceptable — smacks of an entity that may have forgotten it’s a publicly traded company. The outcome to this saga shouldn’t really be surprising.
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