Leading global confectioners Mars and the Wrigley have announced that they will merge, creating what Bill Wrigley called ‘the world’s leading confectionery company’.
Both companies have issued statements enthusiastically supporting the merger, which also highlights that they are looking forward to increased growth as a result.
Bill Wrigley said in his letter: “Together , we will be a company with over $27 billion in sales and more than 64,000 associates worldwide. This combined entity will be, among other things, the world’s leading confectionery company, with the resources and critical mass to explore new geographies and categories that might have been beyond our reach in the past.”
Combining core strengths
In a company statement Wrigley said that the merger combined Wrigley’s strengths with the resources and proven brand-building know-how of Mars and will result in “a powerful force for innovation and growth in the confectionery marketplace.”
Mars said that the transaction would help the company strengthen and diversify its confectionery business, and enhance its potential for growth in the chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and gum categories.
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. Brands will include M&Ms, Snickers, Mars, Orbit, Extra and Doublemint.
Wrigley becomes a stand-alone subsidiary
Wrigley will become a separate, stand-alone subsidiary of Mars, but the deal also means that Bill Wrigley will continue serving as the company’s executive chairman.
Wrigley confirmed that as part of the transaction Mars’ non-chocolate sugar brands, including Starburst and Skittles, will be added to Wrigley’s confectionery portfolio.
Wrigley confirmed in a statement that Mars has agreed to pay $80 cash for each share of Common Stock and Class B Common Stock of the Wrigley Company in a transaction valued at approximately $23bn.
Financing includes biggest players
Financing will be provided by Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. At closing, Berkshire Hathaway will make a minority equity investment in the Wrigley subsidiary.
It is hoped that the transaction will be closed within six to twelve months.
Wrigley first quarter results
In a separate statement Wrigley announced record first quarter sales of $1.45 billion, up 16 per cent from the year-ago quarter.
The company said that the increase reflected the positive impact of currency translation and price/mix, in combination with worldwide shipment growth.
The revenue growth meant that net earnings for the quarter of $0.61 per diluted share were up 17 per cent from the year ago period.
Deal likely to re-ignite Cadbury Schweppes and Hershey talks
According to Reuters the merger is likely to prompt Cadbury Schweppes into re-starting talks with Hersey Co. An Investec Securities analyst is quoted as saying: “Cadbury will have to look at its options and the most obvious is to re-open talks with Hershey over a merger.”
The report added that the Mars-Wrigley merger, with combined annual sales of over $27 billion, is expected to “focus the minds of executives at Hershey.”