Remember the book The Chocolate War? It's happening again, though this time the ramifications are looming far larger than poor Jerry Renault's refusal to participate in his school's chocolate-sale fundraiser.

With Hershey Foods(NYSE: HSY) on the auction block, conglomerates are anxious to bid for a piece of the sweetness. And, like any good battle, alliances are starting to form.

Reports that first broke in the British press over the weekend now have Cadbury Schweppes(NYSE: CSG) and Nestlé teaming up to buy the company and split up its assets. If the folks in Hershey, Pa., thought a company buying the one that shares the town's name was problematic last week, imagine two large players heaving Hershey up on the carving table and calling dibs on choice slices.

The sale of Hershey isn't exactly news. The company announced its intentions in March, when Milton Hershey's charitable estate -- the majority-owning Hershey Trust Co. -- announced it wanted to diversify. However, it's only now, nearly six months later, that food conglomerates are going cuckoo for cocoa's puff.

Last month's $11.5-billion offer by Nestlé was more than fair. With food companies trading for roughly one-and-a-half times trailing sales, the Swiss giant's bid valued Hershey at a little more than two-and-a-half times the company's annualized revenue. Hershey's brand, like the many nuggets in its brand portfolio, is clearly significant.

However, despite Hershey's global prowess, this bidding war won't escalate much higher. While Hershey locals are doing their best to block the bidding process and force a Swiss miss, there's too much money at stake.

No company is an island, even if it's self-billed as the sweetest place on Earth.