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HERSHEY, Pa. - The controlling stockholder of Hershey Foods Corp., the Milton Hershey School Trust, has confirmed it is exploring steps to divest itself of its interests in the company.
The trust, which holds about one-third of the equity and about three-quarters of the voting power of Hershey Foods, is considering the move in order to comply with its fiduciary responsibilities to diversify and protect its assets, said trustee Robert C. Vowler, c.e.o. of the Hershey Trust Company. The value of the Trust's Hershey Foods stock represents about 50% of the trust's total assets.
"The Trust decided to pursue this course of action only after extensive deliberation and much discussion," said Vowler. "While it is approaching the prospect with reluctance, the Trust has concluded that exploring a possible sale of the Company is the best way to accomplish the Trust's diversification objectives and maximize value."
"Clearly, the board of directors of the company would have preferred to keep Hershey Foods as an independent company. However, the Trust concluded that exploring a possible sale of the company was the most prudent action consistent with its diversification objectives and its fiduciary duties to the Milton Hershey School," Vowler said.
The sole beneficiary of the Trust is the Milton Hershey School, which was founded in 1909 and now serves more than 1,200 children in need.