Wrigley Sold To Mars

Berkshire Hathaway is financing deal

U.S. Candy Giant Mars announced plans with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway on April 28 to buy chewing gum maker Wrigley for some $23 billion. The deal calls for Wrigley shareholders to get $80 in cash per share, a premium of at least 28% on its latest closing price.

Financing for the transaction will be provided by Berkshire Hathaway, and investment banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of the world's richest person, Buffett, will make a minority equity investment in the Wrigley subsidiary.

The company combines Mars, a privately held firm based in McLean, Va., which makes Snickers, M&M's and Dove candy along with products such as Uncle Ben's rice, with Wrigley, the Chicago-based maker of chewing gums such as Doublemint and other products such as Life Savers candies.

The tie-up brings together two U.S. companies with long traditions in the confectionery business.

The William Wrigley Jr. company was founded in Chicago in 1891. According to the company's history, William Wrigley came to Chicago from Philadelphia with $32 in his pocket "and unlimited enthusiasm and energy." Mars was founded in 1911 in Tacoma, Washington, and became known for its candy bars including Milky Way and Snickers. It later acquired other brands include pet food products.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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