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Mars Chews Up Wrigley, With Buffett's Aid

Candy maker Mars on Monday said it was acquiring gum maker William Wrigley Jr. Co. (WWY) for $23 billion in cash, aided by financing and an investment from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A - Get Report)

Mars will pay $80 for each share of Wrigley stock, a more than 28% premium to Wrigley's closing price of $62.45 Friday. The deal is fully underwritten by Berkshire, Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) and is not subject to financing conditions, the companies said.

Mars will provide $11 billion of funding for the transaction and Goldman will provide a $5.7 billion committed senior debt facility. Berkshire will provide $4.4 billion in subordinated debt and at closing will invest $2.1 billion in Wrigley, which will become a standalone subsidiary of Mars.

Cramer: What Buffett's Wrigley Move Means for Banks

"When you think of a business that's easy to understand, with favorable long-term economics, and able and trustworthy management -- you think of Wrigley," Buffett said in a statement issued by 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."

Wrigley shares soared more than 23% after the opening bell to $77.

Mars, which makes candy brands such as Snickers, M&M's and Dove, will add Wrigley's Doublemint, Spearmint and Juicy Fruit gums and Lifesavers to its product mix.

"The strong cultural heritage of two legendary American companies with a shared commitment to innovation, quality and best-in-class global brands provides a great basis for this combination," Mars Global President Paul Michaels said in a company statement. "We are looking forward to continuing on our path of growth by jointly developing those values even further."

Other candy makers Hershey (HSY - Get Report), Tootsie Roll (TR - Get Report) and Cadbury Schweppes (CSG - Get Report) also were rising Monday morning.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
BRK.A $212,982.00 0.00%
CSG $7.80 0.00%
HSY $100.27 0.00%
GS $197.35 0.00%
JPM $62.84 0.00%

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