Hershey’s company jet flew to Warren Buffett’s hometown, sparking speculation that the investor could buy the candy company

Warren Buffett makes Sees Candies
Warren Buffett.

  • Hershey’s company jet made a rare trip to Warren Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
  • The candy group’s bosses may have discussed a sale with the investor, an analyst speculated.
  • Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns See’s Candies and financed Mars’ purchase of Wrigley.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hershey’s corporate jet recently flew to Warren Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. The candymaker’s bosses may have visited the Berkshire Hathaway CEO to discuss a potential sale, an analyst who correctly predicted a past Buffett deal speculated in a note to clients last week.

The Hershey plane made its first trip to Omaha in at least a year on June 12, Don Bilson, the boss of Gordon Haskett’s event-driven research team, revealed in the note. The plane “stayed in Omaha for a couple of days which is certainly enough time for anyone who made that trip to pay the Big Guy a visit,” Bilson wrote, citing jet-tracking data.

Of course, Hershey’s plane may have landed in Omaha for other reasons. For example, Olympic swimming trials took place on the dates it was in the city, Bilson said. Hershey’s and Berkshire declined requests for comment from CNBC.

Bilson has sniffed out deals before. For example, he spotted that Occidental Petroleum’s corporate jet had visited Omaha in 2019, leading him to correctly predict that Buffett would help finance Occidental’s takeover of Anadarko Petroleum.

Buffett has bet on confectionery companies before. He famously acquired See’s Candies in 1972, and later described the seller of boxed chocolates as his “dream business.” The investor also shelled out $6.5 billion to help Mars purchase Wrigley during the financial crisis. He quipped at the time that he had conducted a “70-year taste test” on the pair’s products, and they had passed.

“We have long thought that he was the perfect buyer for Hershey,” Bilson and his team wrote in their note. “More than that, he may be the only realistic buyer who would win approval from the Hershey Trust.”

The Hershey Trust commands over 80% of Hershey’s voting rights, meaning a suitor would have to secure their support to buy the chocolate company. Buffett has acquired family-owned businesses such as Nebraska Furniture Mart by offering them a permanent home at Berkshire and promising minimal interference in their operations.

Hershey’s market capitalization is about $36 billion, meaning it’s within Buffett’s price range. The Berkshire chief, who has been hunting for an “elephant-sized acquisition” for years, said in May that he’s willing to deploy up to $80 billion of his company’s cash. However, he also ruled out any near-term takeovers because special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and private equity firms would outbid him.

Buffett has also praised Hershey in the past, describing it as a “wonderful business” and powerful hedge against inflation at Berkshire’s 2007 shareholder meeting.

“If you own Coca-Cola, if you own Snickers bars, if you own Hershey bars, if you own anything that people are going to want to give a portion of their current income to keep getting, and it has relatively low capital investment attached to it so that you don’t have to keep plowing tremendous amounts of money in just to meet inflationary demands, that’s the best investment you can probably have in an inflationary world,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sweet Deal: Get Paid to Eat Vegan Sweets

Reading Time: 2 mins

If indulging in gelatine-free nostalgia goodness is your favourite pastime, then prepare yourself as we’ve got the sweetest deal you’ve ever seen.

Pick & Mix London is on the lookout for 3 official vegan sweet tasters to rate the very best vegan pick & mix around. Do you have a sweet tooth? Looking to earn some extra cash? This may well be the perfect job for you.

Co-founder, George Edwards, commented, “Our vegan sweet category has seen a 350% growth in sales since last September and after noticing that searches for “vegan pick and mix” have increased by 185% in the last 12 months, we decided that it was important for us to put even more focus on the quality of our vegan offering.”

Pick & Mix London need your help to make sure they continue to deliver high-quality, tasty vegan sweets.

What’s on Offer?

Pick & Mix London sweet selection

Well, it’s not a full-time position, so we wouldn’t recommend quitting your day job. But if you can tell your fizzy cola bottles from your dummies, you’re probably on to a winner. If you’re passionate about being vegan and can dedicate the time to writing thoughtful and constructive reviews of their sweets then they want to hear from you!

How does it work?

If you’re selected as a official vegan sweet taster, Pick & Mix London will send you a free vegan pick & mix bundle worth £40, and give you an extra £50 in return for your review efforts. You can expect all sorts of sweets from love hearts to flying saucers, to bon bons. All delivered straight to your door! What’s not to like?

Is this the job for me?

Co-founder George Edwards has said he is after someone who has a passion for vegan treats. It also bodes well if the candidate loves a stay-in movie night or similar style evening. Pick & Mix London is keen to build upon the experience of vegan treats and would love tasters to give thought to this within their reviews.

How do I Apply?

Applications are open from now until 30th April! Apply directly on Pick & Mix London‘s website here. Simply complete an quick 8-question survey and let Pick & Mix London know what makes you the perfect sweet taster!

Due to a record-breaking half a million Brits signed up to Veganuary at the start of this year, a high number of applicants is anticipated. Only those who have made the interview stage will hear back from Pick & Mix London.

Apply now to become an official vegan sweet taster!

The post Sweet Deal: Get Paid to Eat Vegan Sweets appeared first on MoneyMagpie.

Reese’s is selling its first chocolate-free peanut butter cup ahead of Easter this year

  • Reese’s is launching peanut butter cups with no chocolate. 
  • The new candy will launch in April, right around Easter, a major candy holiday.
  • Hershey’s, which owns Reese’s, continued to grow in 2020 despite the pandemic.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Reese’s just announced it will launch a new peanut butter cup flavor, the “Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups.”

The new candy is like a traditional peanut butter cup, but the typical chocolate shell will be replaced with a “100% peanut butter candy-flavored shell.” The peanut butter cups will launch in April in standard, king size, and miniature for a limited run.

According to a press release, Reese’s had previously tested limited releases of Peanut Butter Lovers Cups in 2019 and 2020. The 2021 version is the first to forgo chocolate altogether, though. “While launching a Reese’s Cup with absolutely no chocolate might come as a shock, we’re giving the truest peanut butter fans something to go wild about,” Reese’s Brand Manager Margo McIlvaine said in a statement. 

Reese’s is owned by Hershey’s, which has seen sales increase over the past year. Net sales increased 5.7% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, largely driven by chocolate brands and baking items like peanut butter and cocoa. Customers coped with quieter holidays by buying more candy, and profits rose nearly 14% in the third quarter thanks to Halloween candy sales, including Reese’s.

Peanut Butter Lovers Cups will launch around the same time as Easter 2021, which falls on April 4 this year. Easter is typically a big candy holiday, and Hershey’s owns three of the biggest brands, Cadbury, Reese’s, and Hershey’s with a 40% market share. Easter could be part of a strong start to 2021 for Hershey’s.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hershey’s mint and gum sales have plummeted because of social distancing and masks during the pandemic

GettyImages 1084721220

Mint and gum sales are another loser of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Hershey’s fourth quarter earnings released Thursday.

Net sales for the company actually increased by about 5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, but Hershey said that growth was offset in part by a 20.4% decline in refreshment products, or mints and gum. People apparently aren’t throwing mints in their carts at the last minute during grocery trips, and constant mask-wearing has made these products feel less necessary. “The functional need for breath freshening continues to be impacted by social distancing,” as Hershey politely put it.

Read more: Hershey’s chief growth officer lays out how the company boosted profits by 13% thanks to two new approaches to selling chocolate and mints

Among its dozens of brands, Hershey lists three products in the refreshment category: breathsavers, Bubble Yum bubblegum, and Ice Breakers. The company has launched campaigns to combat these poor sales, like the “Mint Before You Mask,” campaign that pitches mints as the solution to bad breath after hours earing a mask.

Other products in Hershey’s portfolio did better this year, though, including salty snacks and baking items like peanut butter and cocoa. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk warned against excessive regulations, offered leadership tips, and bemoaned a lack of new candy bars in an interview this week. Here are the 12 best quotes

Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk shared his views on the role of government, the best way to lead a company, and the state of candy-bar innovation in a virtual interview at the WSJ CEO Council Summit.
  • The Tesla and SpaceX CEO also discussed the dangers of memes, the outlook for artificial intelligence, and the need for tunnels in cities.
  • Here are Musk’s 12 best quotes from the interview.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Elon Musk warned against excessive regulations, called on executives to focus on their products and customers, and bemoaned candy companies’ lack of innovation at the WSJ CEO Council Summit this week.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO also highlighted memes as a worrying source of misinformation, argued machines will eventually surpass humans in every aspect, and touted tunnels as an effective way to reduce urban traffic during the virtual discussion.

Here are Musk’s 12 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “A lot of the time, the best thing that government can do is just get out of the way.”

2. “Rules and regulations are immortal and if we keep making more every year and do not do something about removing them, then eventually we’ll be able to do nothing.”

3. “It’s government’s responsibility to establish the rules of the game and ensure that those rules are properly enforced. Where I think government does not do a great job is when they want to not just be a referee on the field, they want to be a player on the field.”

Read More: Ron Baron earned a $4.2 billion windfall just from investing in Tesla. The legendary investor told us why he still expects a 30-fold return from Elon Musk – and shared the biggest lessons and mistakes of his career.

4. “The reason that government is often the worst at responding to the customers – being the people – is that they are a monopoly that can’t go bankrupt or usually cannot go bankrupt.”

5. “Big Candy has consolidated into like three companies and they also own all the dog food and the baby food. When’s the last time there was some good candy? What’s the forcing function for a new candy bar? I haven’t seen one in ages.”

6. “Spend less time in meeting rooms, less time on PowerPoint presentations, less time on a spreadsheet, and more time on the factory floor, more time with the customers. Step back and say, ‘Is your product as awesome as it could be?’ Probably not. What could you do to make it great?”

7. “Just be an absolute perfectionist about the product that you make, the service that’s provided. Seek negative feedback from all quarters, from customers, from people who aren’t customers. Ask them, ‘Hey, how can we make this better?'”

Read More: Morgan Stanley is warning that the stock market’s economic recovery trade may soon be over. Here are 4 strategies they recommend for finding the returns that still exist.

8. “There might too many MBAs running companies. There’s the MBA-ization of America, which I think is maybe not that great.”

9. “The troops are gonna fight a lot harder if they see the general on the front lines than if they think the general’s in some cushy situation. Nobody bleeds if the prince is in the palace. Get out there on the goddamn front lines and show them that you care and you’re not just in some plush office somewhere.”

10. “We need to go 3D in cities in order to alleviate traffic congestion, and probably the best way to do that is with tunnels.”

Read More: Emmet Peppers grew his accounts from $30,000 in 2010 to over $70 million this year. The newly minted hedge fund manager breaks down how he spotted early opportunities in Tesla, Facebook, and the COVID-19 market crash – and shared one IPO on his radar.

11. “I think we need to be concerned about mind viruses. Memes that travel very quickly through social media that may, or may not, be correct.”

12. “AI will be able to do everything better than human over time. Everything.”

Read the original article on Business Insider