UK confectioner and retailer Thorntons has announced that takeover talks with Newco – a group headed by former Thorntons chairman Christopher Burnett – have fallen through.

The talks were terminated when Newco cut its original offer, made in August last year, by 30%, from 130 pence per share to 185 pence per share. The revised offer was still subject to a number of preconditions, including further due diligence and clearance by the UK Pensions Regulator. Thorntons said in a statement this morning (2 February) that this offer undervalues the company.

John Jackson, senior independent director, told just-food that “weak Christmas sales caused Newco to revise its offer.”

Jackson is now acting as interim chairman, as the independent directors and Burnett agreed that the interests of the company were best served by his removal as chairman and departure from the company.

Following the announcement, Thorntons shares dropped by around 12% in early trade. However, Jackson told just-food, the company does not feel this dip carries long-term consequences. “We are announcing our interim results at the end of the month,” Jackson commented. “This will include a strategic plan revealing how we intend to move the company forward and increase shareholder value.”

Thorntons will release its interim results for the 28 weeks ended 7 January on 21 February.