NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
A Pennsylvania judge has imposed an injunction against Hershey Foods from selling itself in a victory for the state attorney general trying to block the sale.
The trust that controls Hershey Foods said it will appeal the injunction that could stop the maker of Kit Kat, Almond Joy and Milk Duds from auctioning itself off.
Dauphin County Orphans Court Judge Warren Morgan granted the injunction Wednesday to stop the sale process. The order does not preclude a sale and lasts only until Morgan reviews the merits of the issue.
The Pennsylvania attorney general, Mike Fisher, is worried that a sale of Hershey will lead to job cuts at the company, a big employer in the central Pennsylvania town that bears the Hershey name. Fisher wanted the courts and state lawmakers to have time to consider the issues he raised.
"I am pleased the judge has stopped the sale to give us a chance to raise these issues," Fisher said in a statement. "We need to step back and take a hard look at how a sale of Hershey Foods would affect the Hershey community. There is no reason for the trust and its board to rush out and sell this company without allowing me to represent the public's interest and allowing the court to determine how a sale could hurt this community."
Shares of Hershey (HSY: down $2.94 to $72.66, Research, Estimates) slipped almost 4 percent Wednesday afternoon.
Hershey Trust Co. controls 31 percent of Hershey Foods stock and 77 percent of the Hershey Foods voting stock.
"The trustees are disappointed with the P.A. decision and they plan to appeal," said Rick Kelly, a spokesman for the trust.
Nestle, the Swiss food company, is rumored to be interested in buying Hershey, which brought in $1.8 billion in sales during the first six months of the year. But Nestle last week dampened speculation that it would bid as much as $12 billion for Hershey, Reuters said.