Chocolate giant Mars recently announced its purchase of full control of Wrigley and said that it would merge its brands with Mars' existing chocolate operations.
Mars, which makes M&Ms, Snickers and Twix, acquired Wrigley — the owner of Skittles, Starburst and numerous chewing gum brands — in 2008 with help from Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of billionaire Warren Buffett.
Mars officials said that the company exercised its option to purchase Berkshire Hathaway's minority stake in Wrigley ahead of schedule.
“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," said Mars CEO Grant Reid. "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.”
Current Wrigley president Martin Radvan will lead the new segment, called Mars Wrigley Confectionery, when it is phased in next year. Radvan said the reorganization would allow the new business to "address dynamic retail and consumer trends together."
Mars Wrigley Confectionery, whose component operations currently employ 30,000 workers across some 70 countries, will be headquartered in Wrigley's native Chicago.
A Wrigley spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune that the combination would likely not affect the 300 Chicago workers at Wrigley and that no decisions had been made about 1,700 other Mars workers in the Chicago area.
The New York Times, meanwhile, noted that Berkshire Hathaway benefitted from some six years of expensive financing needed to forge the Mars-Wrigley merger.
“Both Mars and Berkshire have profited from our investment and that’s the way it should be," Buffett told the paper in an emailed statement.