updated 7/26/2005 1:10:08 PM ET 2005-07-26T17:10:08

The Hershey Co., the nation’s largest candy maker, plans to acquire a California-based specialty maker of dark chocolate bars and baking products.

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Hershey did not say Monday how much it would pay to purchase Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker Inc. The company owns and operates three specialty stores in New York City, San Francisco and Berkeley, Calif., and its products are also carried in other specialty stores.

John Scharffenberger, the co-founder of Berkeley, Calif.-based Scharffen Berger, said Hershey’s resources would allow the company to accelerate its growth.

In the past year, Hershey has acquired the Mexico-based maker of spicy candies, Grupo Lorena, and Hawaii’s largest macadamia nut processor, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp.

Hershey said it expects the acquisition, which is subject to the customary closing conditions, to be completed during the third quarter.

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