Shoosmiths advises Thorntons on £112m Ferrero deal

Shoosmiths advises Thorntons on £112m Ferrero deal


Author: Kara Shadbolt

National law firm Shoosmiths has advised Thorntons PLC (Thorntons) on the sale of the British Chocolatier to Italian confectioner Ferrero International S.A. (Ferrero), for £112m.

Martin Letza

Ferholding, a British-based subsidiary of Ferrero, offered the high street retailer 145p per share, marking the first acquisition of a branded company for Ferrero who are the fourth-largest confectionery brand in the world. The combination of Ferrero and Thorntons brings together two complementary players in the confectionery industry - Thorntons as an established and historic brand in the UK and Ferrero as an admired and successful global confectionery player. The deal has now been approved by shareholders and competition regulators.

Shoosmiths corporate partners, Crispin Bridges Webb and Martin Letza led the deal with senior associate Kelly Prestidge and solicitor Marc Piano with tax advice from partner Kate Featherstone. All worked to a strict deadline and tight timescales to ensure Thorntons had all relevant legal advice and documentation to progress the deal.

Thorntons company secretary, Mark Henson, said: 'We have worked with Shoosmiths for some years and were confident the corporate team would support myself and the Board in meeting the challenges of achieving the very tight timescale of the recommended offer to shareholders.

'The knowledge and background Shoosmiths have of our business added value to the transactional work required and it was great to work with the Shoosmiths team on this important and exciting step in Thorntons' future.'

Shoosmiths corporate partner, Martin Letza, commented: 'This deal represents the largest the European confectionery market has seen for a long time and we wish Thorntons all the best in the next phase of their business.

'The very tight timescale made the transaction a real challenge for all parties. Everyone on both sides of the transaction worked extremely hard, and we are delighted to have achieved this excellent result for our client. We are lucky, at Shoosmiths, to have such a wide service offering so all aspects of a deal such as this can be covered within the team.'

Shoosmiths' corporate team has advised public and private companies, management teams, investors and debt providers through the business life cycle. Shoosmiths work with businesses from start-up and first round finance through to mergers and acquisitions, MBO and MBI transactions, development funding and on exits, by way of sale, listing or private equity investment.

The national corporate team has been placed second by deal volume in Experian's UK Deal Review and Advisor League Table and eighth by deal volume in Europe. The firm recently won Law Firm of the Year at the M&A Awards 2015.