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Ferrero to gobble up Thorntons

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Fererro Rocher Chocolates, produced by Ferrero SpA, sit arranged for a photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Dec.7, 2009. Hershey Co. and Nestle SA have been in contact about a possible bid for Cadbury Plc that may challenge an offer by Kraft Foods Inc.,

Fererro Rocher Chocolates, produced by Ferrero SpA, sit arranged for a photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Dec.7, 2009. Hershey Co. and Nestle SA have been in contact about a possible bid for Cadbury Plc that may challenge an offer by Kraft Foods Inc.,

Bloomberg

Fererro Rocher Chocolates, produced by Ferrero SpA, sit arranged for a photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Dec.7, 2009. Hershey Co. and Nestle SA have been in contact about a possible bid for Cadbury Plc that may challenge an offer by Kraft Foods Inc.,

The Italian firm behind Ferrero Rocher, Nutella and Kinder Surprise has agreed to buy British chocolate retailer Thorntons for £112m (€98.6m) striking a rare deal to expand in Europe's biggest confectionery market.

The deal is the first by family-owned Ferrero International since the death earlier this year of patriarch Michele Ferrero, who was Italy's wealthiest man.

Ferrero said yesterday it would pay 145 pence a share in cash for the 104-year-old Thorntons, a 43pc premium to the British firm's closing stock price on Friday. Thorntons' management said it backed the deal.

Thorntons has been hit in recent years by the rise of trendy rivals Green & Black's and Hotel Chocolate. (Reuters)

Irish Independent