Are you ready for the marriage of Wrigley's gum to the maker of Combos and Skittles?
Shareholders of the William Wrigley Jr. Co. (symbol WWY) just approved a $23 billion sale of the company to the privately held Mars Co., maker of such recognizable brands as Snickers, M&M's, and, of course, the Mars bar (interestingly, the company also owns the Pedigree and Whiskas pet-food brands). The deal, to be finalized in early October, will make Mars the world's largest candy maker—knocking Cadbury from the top spot. It also marks the end of more than 100 years of family control—including four generations of Wrigleys—over the gum empire. Dealbook points out that Mars, founded in 1911, is still run by descendants of its founder, Frank Mars.
The deal, announced in April, includes financing from Warren Buffett (his plans with Goldman Sachs won't affect the buy, Dealbook reports). Under the agreement, Wrigley shareholders will receive $80 per share.
"We must respect the past but, at all times, do what's right for the future," Bill Wrigley Jr. said in the company's news release. He said growth opportunities include potential for "cross-pollination of ideas and brands and further enhancements of sales, marketing, and distribution infrastructures."
If done right, I think chocolate-flavored gum could be a huge hit. Looks like somebody is already on it.