Italian company Ferrero, who are behind brands like Nutella and Ferrero Rocher have agreed a deal to buy British Chocolate Retailer Thornton’s for £112 million / $177 million. This is the first deal by Ferrero since the death of patriarch Michele Ferrero who generally shied away acquisitions.
On Monday Ferrero agreed to pay 145 pence a share in cash for the 104-year-old Thornton’s.
Thornton’s has been hit in recent years by the rise of newer and innovative upmarket chocolate brands. After a profit warning in December its chief executive of four years, Jonathan Hart, is due stepping down. Thornton’s shares had lost around 40 per cent since March 2014.
Analysts said Thornton’s was a good fit for Ferrero, which has strong, premium brands but no retail platform to showcase them. The death of its patriarch had sparked speculation Ferrero might be a takeover target for rivals such as Mars, Nestle and Hershey. Ferrero are also responsible for the Kinder Surprise Egg and Tic-Tac brands.