UK high street confectionery retailer Thorntons is reviewing its options after several seasons of poor trade have depressed the share price. CEO Peter Burdon is believed to have approached a number of City financiers and venture capitalists over the last month in an attempt to raise funds for an MBO.

Thorntons’ share price has plummeted to £0.85 (US$1.21) from £3.00 in 1998, depleting the company’s market value from £200,m to £56m.

An MBO is not the only option open to Thorntons, commented the Sunday Telegraph yesterday. Earlier this year a deal was almost struck with greetings card retailer Birthdays, which would have seen the two businesses merge. Under the terms of that deal, Thorntons’ chocolate production facilities would have been sold to Swiss giant Nestlé. That deal, which would have seen Burdon step down as CEO, broke down before completion, leaving him to reconsider the various options open to the group.

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