Ferrero, the biggest chocolate producer in the world, has taken a 29.9% piece of Thornton’s with a promise to buy the rest of the business.
CEO Jonathan Hart stepped down earlier this year, following a string of disappointing earning updates, following unprecedented reductions in major supermarket orders and problems with a new centralised warehouse.
In a sweet deal, the Nutella maker has now reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer, valuating Thornton’s at approximately £111.9m
Commenting on the Offer, Paul Wilkinson, Chairman of Thorntons said:
“Ferrero is offering our shareholders an attractive premium to the average price of Thorntons’ shares over the last three months. Although the prospects for Thorntons as an independent company remain strong as the Company embarks on the next phase of its strategy, the Board of Thorntons also recognises the potential benefits to the brand and the business, including employees and all stakeholders from combining with the Ferrero Group. 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.”
Giovanni Ferrero, CEO of Ferrero added:
“Our business was founded nearly 60 years ago out of a passion for chocolate and with a commitment to quality. 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.
This transactions brings together two highly complementary businesses, but more importantly it unites two companies that share the same passion for growing brands, and a proud heritage, drive and culture built upon their family foundations.
We have long admired Thortons and what they have achieved in the UK as demonstrated by their tremendous customer loyalty, and we look forward to working with their experienced team.”