The US sweet giant agreed to buy Amplify Snack Brands at $12 a share, a 71 per cent premium to Friday’s closing price of $7 a share.
Amplify, based in Austin, Texas, has about $600m in debt and has seen its stock value dive since it went public in 2015.
Hershey’s move signals the intent of new chief executive Michele Buck to lead consolidation in the snacks industry after the maker of Kisses candy rejected a takeover bid from Oreo maker Mondelez.
During a March investor meeting, Hershey’s management said it was particularly interested in companies that had accelerated growth in the US snack industry. Hershey shares have gained 10 per cent this year, valuing the company at $24bn.