Ferrero to buy Thorntons for ₤112 million

The family-owned chocolatier behind Kinder, Ferrero Rocher and Nutella, has offered to buy Thorntons for 145 p a share through its wholly-owned subsidiary Ferholding
Ferrero to buy Thorntons for ₤112 million

It’s the first move since the death of Ferrero’s patriarch, Michele Ferrero, earlier this year, to grow the company through acquisitions, rather than being acquired by larger peers, such as Nestlé and Mondelez. The deal would bring together two of Europe’s best-known chocolate makers.

Thornton’s chairman Paul Wilkinson said: “Ferrero is offering our shareholders an attractive premium to the average price of Thornton’ shares over the last three months. Although the prospects for our firm remain strong, the board of Thornton also recognizes the potential benefits to the brand and the business, including employees and all stakeholders from combining with the Ferrero Group”.

Giovanni Ferrero, chief executive of Ferrero, said: “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” and commenting the deal with Thornton he continues “This transactions brings together two highly complementary businesses, but more importantly it unites two companies that share a passion for growing brands”.

Thornton is a familiar name in Britain where grew by selling luxury chocolates alongside cheaper toffee and then has gradually turned its attention from the high street small retailers to supplying supermarkets. Thornton saw sales and profits fall in the half year 2014 to january, and iussued a profit warning in december. Ferrero is well known for Nutella spread, Kinder eggs and Tic Tac sweets. Thornton has urged shareholders to back the Ferrero’s offer while company’s shares have lept up 42% after the breaking news. According to the Italian company, if the offer was successful it would conduct a strategic and operational review of Thornton’s business and operations to identify synergies.

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