Italian confectionery giant Ferrero is expected to complete the £112m acquisition of chocolate maker Thorntons, after the British company’s board revealed that it would “unanimously recommend” the offer to its shareholders.
The deal values Thorntons at £1.45 per share – 43% more than Friday’s closing price, the Guardian newspaper reported this morning. It takes the stake controlled by Ferrero International up from 29.9%, after the Italian confectioner bought stakes from other shareholders and Thorntons’ former chairman.
The acquisition follows disappointing Christmas sales for the British brand. Reuters reported on Monday that Thorntons had “been struggling in recent months after an unexpected cut in orders from two of its grocery partners and warehousing problems at its UK commercial business”. The situation led to the resignation of Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart.
Thorntons chairman Paul Wilkinson said: “Ferrero is a successful global confectionery business with a strong family heritage and as such represents a good cultural fit for Thorntons. The board of Thorntons therefore has given its unanimous recommendation for the offer from Ferrero.”
Ferrero chief executive Giovanni Ferrero added: “We delivered our best ever results in the UK in 2014, giving us confidence that now is the right time to broaden our roots in this important market.”
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