As a result of Wrigley's merger with Mars Inc (click here to read the full story), Bill Wrigley, Jr
sent the following email to all Wrigley associates worldwide:
Dear Wrigley Associates,
Today, the Wrigley Company is making a momentous and exciting announcement
about our future as a global confectionery company. We have signed an
agreement to merge with Mars, Incorporated, a global, $22 billion private
family-owned company. If approved, the Wrigley Company will become a
separate, stand-alone subsidiary of Mars, with me serving as executive chairman of the Wrigley Company, our current leadership team in place, and an
understanding that we will manage our company as a stand-alone entity. We will
continue to do what we do best, while having access to taking full advantage
of the worldwide talent, innovation, and experiences of Mars, Incorporated.
Obviously, this is a historic decision, and one that, no doubt, will come
as a great surprise to all of you. Frankly, it's not something that even I
had envisioned, until this extremely compelling opportunity was presented to
The Mars family approached us with an all-cash offer to merge with their
company. While the board of directors did not seek out the Mars offer, we had
a fiduciary responsibility to consider it and, after thorough deliberations,
determined that the opportunity is in the best interest of the Company's
stockholders, many of whom are Wrigley associates. Funding for the purchase
includes cash from Mars and subordinated debt financing from Warren Buffett's
company, Berkshire Hathaway – which will hold an equity interest in the
Wrigley Company subsidiary. Our stockholders will vote on the merger at a
special stockholders' meeting later this year.
The stockholder benefits of this opportunity are clearly apparent. What I
find especially motivating and compelling, however, is what it means for the
future generational growth of our company and our people. This combination
has the potential to bring together two strong, complementary confectionery
organisations, both committed to driving long-term dynamic growth. At the
same time, it frees us from some of the costs – as well as the constraints
and short-term results pressure – that come with being a public company.
I want you to know that I strongly support this decision, and I will
remain fully involved in the organisation and the business going forward as executive chairman of the Wrigley Company. I also want to emphasise that Mars
recognises that our success has been fueled by the energy, imagination and
hard work of our strong leadership team and remarkably talented associates
around the world. Their intent is for us to run as a separate entity with a
high degree of autonomy – which they have done successfully with other
mergers. Bill Perez and I, along with Paul S. Michaels, Mars Global
president, fully expect our executive leadership team and the global
leadership of our company to remain in place as active leaders of the
I've spent a considerable amount of time with their leadership team and
Mars family members, and I do take them at their word on this. Mars
understands our business, our values and our culture, as well as our operating
philosophy and the way we invest long-term in our brands and our people, and
they have no intention to change the way we operate or our unique culture. In
fact, our people, our ability to drive growth, iconic brands, geographic
reach, and extensive supply chain and innovation expertise are all things that
attracted them to Wrigley. In addition, we will maintain our headquarters in
Chicago and continue our community involvement, both in the areas of the world
where do business as well as through the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation.
Since its founding in 1911, Mars has been a private company, so you might
not be very familiar with the size and breadth of their organisation.
Although best known for M&Ms, and Snickers, Mars is a major, global
consumer goods company with interests in confectionery and snacks, as well as
other food, beverage, and pet care products including Dove, Uncle Ben's,
Pedigree, Whiskas, Royal Canin, and Banfield Pet Hospitals. Like
us, they invest in their brands and build for the long-term. In fact, a
significant majority of their business comes from a relatively small number of
brands – which is an important indication of their commitment to building and
sustaining brand strength.
The true value of this combination arises primarily from enhanced
prospects for growth. The merger will generate a new world of opportunities
for our people, in addition to the potential for cross-pollination of ideas
and brands and further enhancements of sales, marketing and distribution
infrastructures. One immediate advantage is that Mars' non-chocolate sugar
brands – including Starburst and Skittles – will be added to
Wrigley's confectionery portfolio upon consummation of the merger.
The intent is for the Wrigley Company to be a stand-alone entity in order
to avoid distracting the associates of both companies and possibly
diminishing the outstanding business momentum currently in place. Our
objective is to allow our strengths and assets to complement each other,
providing even more opportunity for growth and career development.
Overall, I am confident that there are more opportunities to grow this
business in a private environment than there are as a publicly-held company.
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.
Of course, this represents a significant change for us – a change that is
emotional for me, as I imagine it will be for you. As we assessed this
opportunity, however, I thought a lot about something you've heard me say many
times. We must respect the past, but, at all times, do what's right for the
future. Every generation of Wrigley leadership has had to make decisions that
are in the best long-term interests of our stockholders and our associates.
We have a long legacy of preserving what makes us special, while always doing
what it takes to be dynamic, competitive, and forward-looking. Being a public
company has given us the financial security to grow with the support of our
stockholders. Today, however, we have an opportunity to grow as a private
company, while preserving our values, our heritage, and the unique culture
that has inspired our success. Rest assured, one thing that will never change
is the way we treat our associates, both in terms of acting with trust,
dignity and respect and in terms of rewarding you appropriately for your hard
work and dedication.
I also want to emphasize that we remain committed to an operating
philosophy of driving generational growth, and that this opportunity will be,
in fact, an enabler of generational growth. I have always believed that
generational growth means the responsibility and the privilege of passing on
to future associates a company that is stronger and better poised for growth
than the one we received. It is about building a legacy of opportunity and
shared success ... and that legacy is much more than the Wrigley family, it
is about all of our associates who have made and will continue to make that
growth possible. This is our chance to create a legacy of opportunity and
long-term future success.
So, we envision this to be a win-win-win for our stockholders, the company
and our people. We have the opportunity to be a privately-held company, add
significant confectionery brands to our portfolio, and combine ideas,
resources and energy with one of the best consumer product companies in the
While the potential of this combination is exciting on many levels, we
need to remember that the merger is contingent on stockholder approval and
various regulatory reviews. Of course, to help the entire Wrigley world
understand the implications and opportunities involved in being part of a
larger organization, we will be reaching out to you in the weeks ahead with
additional updates and town hall meetings about what this means to the Company
and its future, as well as what it means to all of you as individuals.
If there were one thing I could change about this opportunity, it would be
the "hurry up and wait" nature of this process. I wish the timing and the
pace of the announcement could have been slower, allowing you more time to
analyze, discuss and adjust to this news. But as a still publicly-traded
company, we are legally obligated to disclose this kind of information as
quickly and broadly as possible. That said, I wish the interim period between
now and the close could go faster, eliminating the stretches of time when we
are in a "wait-and-see" mode and getting us to the point where we can really
drive the combined business as soon as possible. Our intent is to close the
transaction in the next 6-12 months.
Bill Perez, the Executive Leadership Team and I want to emphasize that we
need to continue to do what we do best – winning consumers, servicing
customers, and delivering great products and results. All of our energy needs
to be focused on our aspirations for growth and delivering our 2008 plan – and
we're off to a great start. By maintaining business momentum – at both
companies – we will be in the optimal position to capitalise on the
opportunities that will be available to the combined organization.
Undoubtedly, there will be a risk of distraction during this transition.
Given the tremendous opportunity that lies before us, we must work together to
harness our energy and talent and strengthen our already growing and dynamic
organization. I have total confidence in this team's ability to stay focused,
resilient and committed, because you have proven yourselves time and time
We all need to look to the future with optimism. I am certain that this
merger will bring new opportunities for growth and tremendously exciting
possibilities for all of us. I can't wait to be part of this dynamic future,
and I hope you will feel the same way.
With best regards,
Bill Wrigley, Jr.