Swiss chocolate maker buys KC-based Russell Stover - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

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Swiss chocolate maker buys KC-based Russell Stover

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Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli says it is buying U.S. manufacturer Russell Stover Candies, Inc., for an undisclosed sum. Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli says it is buying U.S. manufacturer Russell Stover Candies, Inc., for an undisclosed sum.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli says it is buying U.S. manufacturer Russell Stover Candies, Inc., for an undisclosed sum.

Lindt CEO Ernst Tanner said Monday that the purchase provides "a unique opportunity for us to expand our North American chocolate business." The company says the deal will make it the No. 3 chocolate manufacturer in North America.

Russell Stover, which also owns the Whitman's brand, is based in Kansas City, MO, and has four factories — in Kansas, Texas and Colorado.

It has about 2,700 employees and annual sales of around $500 million. Of those employees, 250 are based in Kansas City. It wasn't immediately clear whether the new owner would shed any jobs.

In a statement, Thomas Ward, president and CEO of Russell Stover, said maintaining the Kansas City headquarters and area manufacturing is a top priority in the deal.

The candy company known for its boxed pralines, chocolates and cremes has called Kansas City home since 1954 and it's helped put Kansas City on the national map.

"I hope nothing changes because I love the Russell Stover candies and may be the Lindt company will have some new ideas," said Dan O'Connell, a customer of the company.

Others want them to keep their ice cream.

The sales price wasn't disclosed but experts estimate at least $1 billion.

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