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Wrigley gets OK to merge with Mars

POSTED: September 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. announced Thursday that its stockholders have overwhelmingly approved the adoption of a merger agreement with Mars Inc.

Following the vote, both parties intend to complete the merger on Oct. 6.

Wrigley’s largest chewing gum factory is located in Flowery Branch.

"We are pleased with the outcome of today’s vote," said Bill Wrigley Jr., executive chairman and chairman of the board. "On behalf of the company’s board of directors, we deeply appreciate the support of our stockholders and Wrigley associates around the world throughout this process. The Wrigley team is looking forward to completing the transaction and beginning the next, exciting chapter for the company and its brands."

Under the terms of the April 28 agreement, Wrigley stockholders will receive $80 cash for each share of stock. Wrigley will become a subsidiary of privately held Mars, adding a number of brands to its portfolio.

In 2006, the company announced it would invest $48 million and create 200 new jobs at the 37-year-old plant on Atlanta Highway.

In addition to chewing gum, the plant makes gum base, the product that holds the gum
together and makes it chewable, for use at Flowery Branch and for shipment to other Wrigley’s plants.

The 2006 expansion was part of a companywide production change resulting from the acquisition of a number of confectionery brands from Kraft Foods Global Inc. The new owners have not announced any changes for the Flowery Branch plant, which was built on the site of a former walnut grove. It began operating in December 1971 with 100 employees.

Kit Dunlap, president of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said Wrigley had been an excellent corporate citizen and is hopeful that will continue with Mars.

"We hope that Wrigley’s will remain somewhat independent and will continue growing and be a good place to work," she said.



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