Hotel Chocolat shares triple as Mars snaps up British chocolatier

Shares in British chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat (LSE: HOTC) jumped over 160% on Thursday after the company agreed to a takeover by U.S. food manufacturer Mars Inc.

Under the deal, Mars will pay 375 pence per share in cash for Hotel Chocolat, valuing the company at £534 million. This represents nearly triple Hotel Chocolat’s closing share price of 139 pence on Wednesday.

In a joint statement, Mars said it believes Hotel Chocolat provides a strong platform for it to expand its chocolate business in the strategically important U.K. market.

Hotel Chocolat Chair Stephen Alexander said the acquisition would allow the company to “grow further and faster.”

The takeover comes after a challenging period for Hotel Chocolat. The company issued a profit warning in June and reported a 59% drop in half-year profits in March.

Shares in Hotel Chocolat jumped to 365 pence on Thursday after the deal was announced. The company’s stock languished below 140 pence for most of 2022 prior to the acquisition.

By partnering with Mars, Hotel Chocolat aims to accelerate its growth by leveraging the U.S. company’s global scale and resources.