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Item One on the checklist for announcing a takeover is to make sure the advisors’ company codenames are switched back to the real names.
The flacks at Citigate Dewe Rogerson skipped to Item Two:
Queen Bee’s brand destiny is to become a leading premium chocolate brand in major markets through reinventing chocolate for people and nature. In Beekeeper we have found a true meeting of minds – in strong cultural values, bold strategy and true long-termism.
That’s Angus Thirlwell, CEO of Hotel Chocolat, talking about the takeover of HC by Mars in an email to press. It goes on in this accidentally surreal fashion for some time:
We know our brand resonates with consumers overseas, but operational supply chain challenges have held us back. By partnering with Beekeeper, we can grow our international presence much more quickly using their skills, expertise and capabilities.
The pillars on which we have built the Queen Bee brand – originality, authenticity and ethical trading, is precisely what brought Queen Bee and Beekeeper together and our intention is to strengthen and invest behind these. I’m excited about the future of the business and in Beekeeper we have found an excellent long-term steward of the Queen Bee brand and everything we stand for.
Then there’s Stephen Alexander, HC’s chair:
Queen Bee is a brand that has strong, standalone prospects but today’s deal will allow it to grow further and faster. Joining forces with Beekeeper will deliver great value for Queen Bee shareholders and the combination will create exciting opportunities for Queen Bee employees as part of the Beekeeper Group.
Followed by Andrew Clarke, Global President of
Beekeeper Mars Snacking:
We have long admired the fantastic business that Angus, Peter and the Queen Bee team have created. Queen Bee is a differentiated and much-loved brand, with an impressive product offering and a deep commitment to its values of originality, authenticity and ethical trading. The Beekeeper and Queen Bee businesses are highly complementary, and during the course of our discussions with Queen Bee’s leadership it has also become clear that there is a very strong cultural fit – with purpose at the heart of both organisations, and a shared passion for quality and sustainability.
Beekeeper has a long and proud history in the UK, and today’s announcement further strengthens our commitment to this important market by bringing an exciting brand into our portfolio and deepening our relationship with consumers. Building on the strong foundations that Angus, Peter and their team have established, we are very excited to support Queen Bee’s next phase of growth.
We are confident that Beekeeper will be an excellent long-term home for Queen Bee, providing a like-minded, entrepreneurial and purpose-led environment in which to maximise the potential of the Queen Bee brand which is already so beloved by consumers
Finding out deal codewords is one of the few ways journalists can add (negligible) value when reporting announced M&A. Honestly, it spoils the fun a bit when they just tell us.
But what was it about the £534mn offer for a profit-warning prone Aim-quoted confectioner — a 169.8 per cent premium to Wednesday’s price and a multiple to forecastable standalone earnings in the upper 30s — that caused the spinners so much excitement that they forgot to run a find-and-replace?
Enquiries are directed to:
Citigate Dewe Rogerson (Financial Communications Adviser to Queen Bee)
(Note: we may update this post when or if there’s anything useful to say.)