[NEW YORK] US chocolate maker Hershey said on Thursday it had rejected a preliminary takeover bid of about US$23 billion from food giant Mondelez, whose brands include Cadbury.
The Hershey board of directors said it "carefully reviewed" a bid of US$107 per share for the company and "determined that it provided no basis for further discussion between Mondelez and the company."
A deal with the much-smaller Hershey would have enhanced Mondelez's chocolate holdings in the United States, where it is better known for products such as Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers.
Founded in 1894 in the Pennsylvania city of the same name, Hershey is a fixture in American supermarkets. Its best-known brands include Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey's Kisses.
Hershey reported US$7.4 billion in sales in 2015, while Mondelez had US$29.6 billion in sales.
A deal would require support from the Hershey Trust, which is chartered by the state of Pennsylvania and holds about 80 per cent of the common shares in the US chocolate company.
Hershey shares surged 15.5 per cent to US$112.19 in mid-afternoon trade, implying that the market still thinks Hershey could be acquired, perhaps at a higher price.
Mondelez climbed 5.1 per cent to US$45.18.