Thonrtons: Ferrero's bid was at a 43 per cent premium to the closing share price on Friday (Source: Getty)
Thorntons shareholders clearly think Ferrero is spoiling them – the British chocolate business' share price has soared more than 43 per cent this morning on the back of a £112m deal.
Ferrero's parent company Ferholding has confirmed it has bought 29.9 per cent of the troubled chocolatier for 145p per share – a 43 per cent premium to Thornton's closing price on Friday, prompting the share price leap.
Ferholding has acquired the entire holding of Crystal Amber, the entire holdings of John von Spreckelsen and his wife, and part of the holding of Hotchkis & Wiley in Thorntons at the Offer Price, equivalent to 27.14 per cent of the company.
On top of that it has bought out directors Jonathan Hart, his wife and children, as well as Paul Wilkinson and the majority of the holding of Michael Killick, equal to 2.76 per cent of the company.
Ferholding has also agreed to buy the remaining business at a later date. The deal values Thorntons at £111.9m.
It comes after the departure of chief executive Jonathan Hart, following a series of earnings disappointments.
Chairman Paul Wilkinson 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."
Ferrero chief executive Giovanni Ferrero added: "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."