Liberum acts as Co-Financial Adviser, Sole Corporate Broker and NOMAD on recommended cash offer for Hotel Chocolat by Mars Inc.
We are pleased to announce that Liberum is acting as Co-Financial Adviser, Sole Corporate Broker and NOMAD on the recommended cash offer for Hotel Chocolat Group plc (“Hotel Chocolat” or the “Company”) by Mars, Incorporated (“Mars”) for approximately £534m, which was announced today and is conditional on shareholder approval.
Hotel Chocolat is one of the UK’s leading premium chocolate brands. The Company is known not only for its high quality “More Cacao Less Sugar” products, but also for the values of originality, authenticity and ethical behaviour which are at the core of its business. New products such as the Velvetiser drinking chocolate system have ensured that the business continues to resonate with its customers.
The Company manufactures the vast majority of its chocolate products at its UK-based innovation centre in Cambridgeshire and enjoys a direct relationship with its millions of UK customers through its growing network of stores, an online channel and selected resale partners. Areas of international growth for Hotel Chocolat include the US digital subsidiary business, the cocoa agro-tourism Saint Lucian subsidiary business and the Company’s minority shareholding in the Japanese brand licence partnership.
The combination with Mars is expected to preserve the cultural values of the Company and accelerate its commercial relationships and international expansion.
Liberum advised Hotel Chocolat on its AIM IPO in 2016 at a share price of 148p and raised further funds through a placing at 335p in 2021 and has acted as Broker and NOMAD since IPO.
The cash offer for the Company is at a premium of 170% to the closing share price the day before the offer, well above typical market offer premiums.
In addition to cash, shareholders are being offered the option to receive a partial unquoted share alternative.
The transaction is subject to shareholder approval and anticipated to close in Q1 2024
Corporate Broking – Dru Danford, Ed Thomas, Miquela Bezuidenhoudt
M&A – Tim Medak, Matt Hogg