Hershey Co has rejected a US$23bn takeover offer from Mondelez in a deal that would have made them the largest confectionery company globally, reports BBC News.

"The board of directors of the company unanimously rejected the indication of interest and determined that it provided no basis for further discussion,” Hershey said in a statement on 30 June.

Mondelez – with its Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolate brands – is the world’s second largest confectionery company, while Hershey – known for its famous chocolate bar – ranks number five.

Their merger would have given them 18% of the global confectionery market, according to research firm Euromonitor International, overtaking Mars with 13.3% of the market.

A deal would have combined Hershey's strong US business with Mondelez's global distribution footprint, BBC News said.

It would also have given Mondelez control over the production and distribution of Cadbury and Nestle’s Kit Kat chocolates in the USA, which Hershey currently holds the rights to.

BBC News said Hershey's controlling shareholder was the Hershey Trust, a US$12bn charity created by the firm's founder in 1894 with a mission statement that it kept control of the business.