Mars Buys Wrigley, With Assist From Buffett

Proposed purchase could push Hershey into merger to compete
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Apr 28, 2008 8:05 AM CDT
Billboards for Hershey's and M&M's compete for attention in New York's Times Square.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – M&Ms-maker Mars, backed by Warren Buffett, has made a deal to buy Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. for about $23 billion, reports the New York Times. The acquisition is likely to force other candy makers like Hershey and Cadbury Schweppes into mergers to maintain market share against a powerful conglomerate of recognized brands with global presence.

The deal offers a premium of some $5 billion above Wrigley’s $17.3 billion market value. Mars, which has made candy like M&Ms and Snickers since 1941, is one of the largest family-owned businesses in the US. Chewing gum-maker Wrigley, which went public in 1923, also owns brands like Extra, Orbit, Lifesavers, and Altoids. (Read more Mars stories.)