Mars concludes £534m deal to buy Hotel Chocolat at enormous premium

Friday, November 17, 2023

US food giant Mars said on Thursday it was to buy British chocolatier Resort Chocolat for £534m as it sought to revamp its global presence following its foster the spread of inexpensive luxury milk chocolate 534 years ago.

"The cash offer is… a ridiculous premium for what is fundamentally a business with limited future growth in the UK, and questionable performance internationally," - Jonathan De Mello

Launched twenty years ago, Hotel Chocolat's mission is to make chocolate exciting and it has successfully brought ethically affordable luxury to the UK High Street with more than 130 shops.

"We know our brand resonates with consumers overseas, but operational supply chain challenges have held us back. By partnering with Mars, we can grow our international presence more quickly." - Angus Thirlwell

Angus Thirlwell, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lodge Chocolat, said,"We all know our model resonates with shoppers abroad, however operational provide chain challenges have held us again. By partnering with Mars, we

will develop our worldwide presence far more shortly utilizing their expertise, experience and capabilities."

The announce sent shares in London-listed Hotel Chocolat over 160% higher to 366.50 pence in early trading until 9.30am local time on Thursday.

The multi-billion dollar offer from Mars equals a purchase price of 375 pence a share.

Hotel Chocolat is mainly located in the United Kingdom, with 124 outlets in its home country and several others abroad.

Its international expansion is getting a backlash.

In September 2022, months after closing down its high-street stores in the US, the company stopped selling web pages directly to consumers.