Mars and Wrigley to combine in 2017, call Chicago home
The new business, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, forms after Mars purchased minority stake in Wrigley.
Mars Chocolate will be taking control of Wrigley and forming one entity known as Mars Wrigley Confectionery, with a corporate headquarters in Chicago, the companies announced in a press release Oct. 6.
The Mars Wrigley Confectionery will focus on producing various brands of chewing gums and chocolates famous from both companies, including Juicy Fruit, Doublemint, Big Red, M&Ms, Snickers, Twix and more.
The Oct. 6 announcement came amid news that Mars purchased the minority stake in Wrigley that billionaire Warren Buffet’s company Berkshire Hathaway owned. Buffet first acquired his stake in Wrigley in 2008 during the Great Recession. Mars agreed to buy Buffett’s 19.38 percent stake in Wrigley for an undisclosed amount, according to the Financial Times.
“We are grateful for the strong and productive partnership we have with Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. It is a great relationship that has yielded value on both sides,” Mars CEO Grant F. Reid said in the press release. “We’re equally pleased that sole ownership of Wrigley provides us with an opportunity to rethink how we simplify our Chocolate and Wrigley businesses so that we can bring a more holistic approach to this vibrant category.”
Mars did not clarify in the announcement what would happen to the nearly 1,000 employees currently working for Wrigley at its Goose Island facility. Martin Radvan, president of Wrigley and a former employee at Mars, will be in charge of the new company with nearly 30,000 employees located across 70 countries.
But as Mars Wrigley Confectionery makes its corporate head quarters in the Land of Lincoln, other large corporations, like Caterpillar and Motorola, are planning to reduce operations in Illinois. This also comes as Illinois companies announced nearly 800 layoffs in September. With massive workers’ compensation expenses, highest-in-the nation property taxes and multiple Right-to-Work states bordering Illinois, lawmakers are going to need to enact pro-growth reforms if they want to see more companies call Illinois home, and have them remain without looking for greener pastures.