Mars Inc agreed to buy Chicago-based Wm Wrigley Jr. Company on Monday for $23 billion in cash, bringing together Mars, the maker of M&M's chocolate and Snickers bars together with Wrigley's, which sells Spearmint and Juicy Fruit gum.
McLean, Virginia-based Mars, with annual global sales of $22 billion, said in a statement that Wrigley, with $5.4 billion in sales, will remain a stand-alone to retain its character and focus while being part of the larger corporation. Wrigley will maintain its Chicago headquarters.
Shareholders of Wrigley will receive $80 in cash for each share of Common Stock and Class B Common Stock, a 28.1 percent premium to the stock's closing price of $62.45 on Friday.
The transaction will be financed by Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. Berkshire Hathaway, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, will acquire a minority equity investment in Wrigley.
The combined company would have a strong foundation of established brands in six core growth categories – chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery, gum, food, drinks and petcare, Mars said in a statement.
Mars brands also include Dove, Milky Way, Uncle Ben's, Pedigree and Whiskas. Other Wrigley brands are Life Savers, Altoids and Big Red.
Mars will transfer its non-chocolate confectionary sugar brands to Wrigley, including Starburst and Skittles.
Current Wrigley Chairman Bill Wrigley Jr. will retain that role. He will report to Mars Global president Paul S. Michaels. Wrigley will also work closely with Bill Perez president and chief executive and Wrigley management.
The deal is subject to Wrigley shareholder approval and regulatory clearances. Both firms expect the deal to close within six to twelve months.