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Ferrero to buy UK chocolate maker Thorntons for USD178m

The Italian firm behind Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella spread has agreed to buy British chocolate retailer Thorntons for GBP112 million (USD176.8m), 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 and largely shied away from acquisitions as he built up a business that also spans Kinder Surprise eggs and Tic Tac mints.

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