Mars buys iconic Hotel Chocolat for 661 million dollars

The chimerical British chocolate institution will now be owned by Mars.

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Since Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris opened their flagship shop in North London in 2004, Hotel Chocolat has become Britain’s largest independent chocolate manufacturer, with 131 shops -124 in the UK plus outlets in Gibraltar and Ireland, plus cafés and restaurants. It also has shops in Japan, a working cocoa farm, and a luxury eco-hotel in the Caribbean.

There is no doubt that this whole empire built around fantasy and chocolate is colossal, but pundits debate whether the company is limited to the English market alone. Whatever its future, though, it will now become the business of Mars, which is buying Hotel Chocolat for £534 million ($661 million).

It’s a big deal that could boost its expansion outside the UK, as well as boost its earnings and revenues, which have been in steady decline of late. In this regard, on the news of the deal alone, Hotel Chocolat‘s shares jumped 164% on Thursday; giving a glimpse of the intelligence behind the move that could provide the UK company with a larger distribution platform than it could have achieved on its own. 

Indeed, Mars Snacking owns a huge portfolio of brands that includes such iconic candies as M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Dove, Twix, Starburst, among many others.