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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 10:58 GMT
Thorntons takeover talks collapse
Thorntons shop
The revised offer was not sweet enough
Chocolate maker Thorntons has said its chairman is to quit after talks between him and the firm over a possible takeover were scrapped.

Thorntons said a proposed 87.4m offer from chairman Christopher Burnett undervalued the company.

Last year, Mr Burnett indicated he was prepared to pay 124m to take the company private.

The reduction in price came after Thorntons reported a fall in sales over the Christmas trading period.

Thorntons blamed "poor retail footfall" for a 6.2% fall in total like-for-like sales over the 28 weeks to 7 January, and said trading was set to remain "very disappointing".

No deal

At the time of the Christmas trading update, Thorntons said that Mr Burnett and his backers would need more time to study the firm's position.

In August last year, Mr Burnett had approached Thorntons about a possible 185-pence-per-share offer for the company.

However, on Thursday Thorntons said Mr Burnett had now indicated that he was now prepared to pay just 130 pence per share, and this offer was still subject to a number of pre-conditions.

Thorntons said it felt this price undervalued the firm, and added that talks on the bid had now been terminated.

The company also said that Mr Burnett had agreed "that it would be in the best interests of the company for him to step down as chairman and leave the company immediately".

Thorntons said senior independent director John Jackson would act as interim chairman until a full-time appointment could be made.

Thorntons sales 'disappointing'
17 Jan 06 |  Business
Thorntons in bid talks with chief
19 Aug 05 |  Business
Thorntons appoints new chairman
08 Apr 04 |  Business

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