In the Company of Mavericks

Jeremy McKeown has fascinating conversations with entrepreneurs who dared to be different.

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February 16, 2024

Premium Chocolate & Value Investing with Angus Thirwell & Gary Channon

For today’s episode, I am joined by David Seaman of Alpha Cygni Asset Management for a conversation with two mavericks, an entrepreneur and an investor.


Angus Thirwell is the co-founder and CEO of Hotel Chocolat and was on Episode 4 in December 2021. Angus has just completed the sale of Hotel Chocolat to Mars for a value of £534m and has decided to roll most of his stake in the company into the Mars family structure as he sees an increased opportunity for the brand to grow under its new ownership. 


Gary Channon is the founder and CIO of Phoenix Asset Management with a disciplined value style of investing detailed in previous episodes with James Wilson. Gary heads a team that manages UK-listed investment vehicles, Aurora Investment Trust and Castelnau.  


We are treated to a master class in how Angus’s careful stewardship of his premium branded chocolate and the culture required to develop its full potential led him to his partnership with one of the world’s biggest and most successful family businesses.  


And how Gary’s disciplined approach to research and valuation delivered a stunning return by acquiring a 15% stake in Hotel Chocolat after its post-pandemic setback. 


We cover a lot of ground and discuss the health of the UK stock market, how to think about investing in consumer-facing businesses and how failing and learning from mistakes is an important part of developing a business whether in premium chocolate or asset management. 


Gary also talks about taking the funeral business Dignity private and this latest addition to the portfolio, Churchill China.      


Please enjoy our conversation with the mavericks, Angus Thirwell and Gary Channon.


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