Italian candy maker Ferrero may join Hershey in Cadbury bid

Hershey, hoping to expand its overseas presence, has lined up a potential partner as the most recognizable name in American chocolate considers starting a bidding war for British candy maker Cadbury PLC.

Italian candy maker Ferrero International SA could give The Hershey Co. the financial firepower to top a $16.4 billion hostile bid by Kraft Foods Inc.

Hershey and Ferrero said Wednesday they are considering a possible offer for Cadbury.

“Hershey confirms that it is reviewing its options and at this stage there can be no assurance that any proposal or offer from Hershey will be forthcoming,” the company said in an announcement to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Ferrero, which makes Nutella chocolate spread and Tic Tacs, posted a similar statement.


Delta, partners to offer $1 billion to Japan Airlines

Delta Air Lines and its alliance partners said Wednesday they are making a billion-dollar offer to lure loss-making Japan Airlines from its affiliation with American Airlines.

Delta is “by far the strongest partner for Japan Airlines,” company President Edward Bastian told reporters in Tokyo, escalating the tug-of-war for a minority stake in Japan’s flagship carrier.

The offer from Delta and the SkyTeam alliance includes a $500 million capital investment, $300 million in short-term revenue guarantees and $200 million in asset-backed financing for the airline, known as JAL.

SkyTeam would also cover the entire cost for the carrier to transfer from American’s oneworld alliance, estimated by Delta to total $20 million.


Wells Fargo to repay customers $1.4 billion to settle lawsuit

Wells Fargo & Co. on Wednesday agreed to repay customers about $1.4 billion to settle a lawsuit and regulatory investigations alleging the company improperly marketed risky investments as safe.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued the San Francisco-based bank last year and the North American Securities Administrators Association launched an inquiry of the bank’s subsidiaries over sales of so-called auction-rate securities. The investments resemble corporate debt, except that the rate of interest they pay is frequently reset at auctions.

A number of companies, charities and individual investors were told the securities were as safe as cash. But the $330 billion market collapsed in February 2008, and investors’ accounts were frozen.

Wells Fargo said Wednesday it agreed to buy back the securities from customers nationwide. The company also agreed to pay a $1.9 million fine while not admitting any wrongdoing.

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