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FTC Asked to Watch Hershey Sale

September 5, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee told the Federal Trade Commission to keep a close eye on the possible sale of Hershey Foods Corp.

A sale by the Hershey Trust Co., which holds a 77 percent voting stake in the candy giant, ``will likely exceed $10 billion and trigger federal antitrust review,″ Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., wrote to FTC Chairman Timothy J. Murris in a letter dated Sept. 4. ``As a result, I urge the FTC to rigorously examine the antitrust implications of any sale of Hershey Foods.″

Sensenbrenner’s letter came at the urging of Rep. George Gekas, a Republican whose district includes Hershey, Pa., where Hershey Foods is based. Gekas opposes the potential sale, which some worry could lead to layoffs among Hershey’s 6,200 workers.

A sale could prompt a Judiciary Committee investigation or hearings, Gekas spokesman Mike Shields said.

Hershey Foods is the nation’s largest chocolate and confectionery maker. Companies expected to bid up to $15 billion on the candy maker include Nestle, Kraft Foods and Cadbury Schweppes.

The FTC declined immediate comment.

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