>> This is the town that chocolate built. Hershey, Pennsylvania has revolved and evolved around the world famous candy maker for more than a century. And its residents could play an integral role in whether a takeover offer can from Oreo maker Mondelez, or any other company, ultimately succeeds. Reuters Gui Tin Co traveled to the town in central Pennsylvania where the namesake chocolate is still being made.
>> I'm standing in front of the house that belonged to Mr. Milton Hershey, the man who founded Hershey Company 122 years ago. Today this house is occupied by the Hershey Trust Company, which controls Hershey, one of the world's largest chocolate makers. Whether Mondelez will succeed in buying Hershey for at least $23 billion will depend in part on whether it can win over the ten board members that oversee Hershey Trust.
>> The trust, Hershey's largest shareholder, rejected Mondelez's offer last week, but the company's stock held on to nearly 15% in gains suggesting investors expect another bid. Still, the organization which funds a private boarding school for low income students might be more swayed by the Hershey community than a sweetened deal.
The town of about 14,000 people, home to the company's theme park and with roads named Chocolate and Cocoa Avenue and street light shaped like candy kisses, has prospered under Hershey's influence. Founder Milton built homes for his factory workers and the business provided everything from education to burial grounds.
House prices and incomes in Hershey are substantially higher than the neighboring Pennsylvania town. Residents have fought previous attempts of change, rallying to block a $12.5 billion bid from Wrigley in 2002 and even opposing demolition of parts of an old Hershey factory four years ago. One local telling Reuters, you can never tear anything down, people like things to stay the way they are.