Amplify - reports are linking it to a takeover by Hershey.

Amplify - reports are linking it to a takeover by Hershey.

A report this morning (18 December) is linking US confectionery giant Hershey with a US$1.6bn deal to buy Amplify Snack Brands.

US broadcaster CNBC  is quoting sources "familiar with the matter" as saying Pennsylvania-based Hershey, the maker of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey's Kisses, is close to a deal to buy Texas-based Amplify, which has brands including SkinnyPop and Tyrrells.

The acquisition could be announced as early as today, the sources said.

Hershey has a market capitalisation of $24bn, while Amplify has a market cap of $537m.

In October, Hershey's new CEO Michele Buck reportedly said she is "very open" to the US snacks giant looking for mergers and acquisitions, which she claimed will play a "key role" in its growth.

Speaking to Fortune, Buck said M&A would play a part in Hershey's growth strategy, with the company open to a "transformational acquisition".

"I'm very open to mergers and acquisitions. I see them playing a key role in our growth agenda going forward," Buck said: "We've an opportunity with mergers and acquisitions to go into spaces where our brands currently can't travel. And that will be one way we grow."

Amplify, which also owns Paqui tortilla chips, floated in the US in 2015. In August 2016, Amplify acquired UK crisp maker Tyrrells from Bahrain-based private-equity firm Investcorp in a cash-and-shares deal worth GBP300m (then $392m).