Russell Stover to be sold to Swiss company

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City's premier chocolate company is about to be sold. Russell Stover is in talks with Swiss chocolate maker Lindt.

Russell Stover is headquartered in Kansas City and employs around 4,500 people. It's too early to tell what a sale to Swiss confectioner Lindt would mean for Russell Stover - though the name would most likely stay the same. That's because it has brand recognition.

Russell Stover sells more chocolates in the U.S. than any other chocolatier. The candy's namesake and his wife Clara began making chocolate in 1923 out of their home in Denver and opened a store in Kansas City.

Louis Ward of Kansas City sold packaging materials to the Stovers and bought their company in 1960. His sons took it over in 1993 and they now sell around $600 million worth of chocolates every year in more than 70,000 stores nationwide. Earlier this year, though, the Ward brothers hired Goldman Sachs to sell the company to the highest bidder.

The Wall Street Journal -- among other financial media -- is reporting the sale to Lindt will be worth between one and one and a half billion dollars.

Lindt also owns Ghiradelli Chocolates, making it the third largest chocolate maker in the country.

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