Mars buys Wrigley for $23bn

28-04-2008

Mars buys Wrigley for $23bn
Confectioner Mars has agreed to buy gum-maker Wrigley in a $23 billion (£11.56 billion) deal, part financed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Mars will pay $80 (£40.2) a share for the company, a 28 per cent premium to Wrigley's closing share price of $62.45 (£31.38) on April 25, 2008.

Mars' non-chocolate sugar brands - including Starburst and Skittles - will be added to Wrigley's confectionery portfolio, joining brands such as Lifesavers and Altoids.

Wrigley's executive chairman Bill Wrigley Jr will be staying on in the role. Mr Wrigley said: "First and foremost, this is a great transaction at a great price that provides tremendous value to Wrigley stockholders.

"Additionally, in terms of Wrigley's ongoing business, the true value of this transaction arises primarily from enhanced growth opportunities, including the potential for cross-pollination of people, ideas and brands, and significant enhancements of sales, marketing and distribution infrastructures."

The deal has been funded with $11 billion (£5.5 billion) from Mars, a $5.7 billion (£2.86 billion) committed senior debt facility from Goldman, Sachs, and $4.4 billion (£2.21 billion) of subordinated debt from Mr Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Mr Buffett, currently the richest man in the world, said: "When you think of a business that's easy to understand, with favourable long-term economics, and able and trustworthy management - you think of Wrigley.

"Bringing together these iconic, world-class companies combines Wrigley's strengths with the deep resources and proven brand-building savvy of Mars and will result in a powerful force for innovation and growth in the global confectionery marketplace."

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