U.S. chocolate maker Hershey Co is considering launching a bid of at least $17 billion for British chocolatier Cadbury Plc in an effort to outstrip a hostile offer by Kraft Foods Inc, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Hershey, which is still considering a joint bid with Italy's Ferrero, lined up deal financing from Bank of America and JP Morgan , said the source, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

JPMorgan declined to comment. Bank of America and Hershey could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Jessica Hall)