Findlaw reports that confectionery and gum manufacturer Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. has announced that it has agreed to buy a number of confectionery brands, including Life Savers and Altoids, from Kraft Foods for $1.48 billion. The agreement between the two Chicago-based companies also covers the Creme Savers brand, as well as Trolli gummy candies, Sugus candies and other local and regional brands in the United States, Europe, Indonesia and Thailand.
Hershey Foods Corp., Mars Inc., Nestle SA and Cadbury Schweppes PLC were reportedly among the companies vying for the Kraft confections package. Said Bill Wrigley Jr., the company's chairman, president and CEO:
"There are only a handful of confectionery brands around the world that have the combination of heritage and vitality that can match up with Wrigley brands. Altoids and Life Savers are two such brands".Wrigley officials said the all-cash purchase price would be partially offset by about $300 million in cash tax benefits associated with amortization of intangible assets. The net acquisition cost of $1.18 billion represents 2.4 times estimated 2004 sales. The sale unloads brands that generated roughly $500 million in sales for Kraft and just less than $100 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Kraft, with $31 billion in sales, decided recently to cede most of its confection brands in order to concentrate its sales force on what food executives call the "centre" of the store -- the traditional supermarket aisles stocked with blocks of Kraft cheese, boxes of Nabisco cookies and cans of Maxwell House coffee.
"By enabling us to better focus our resources, the sale should create value for Kraft, as well as our employees, customers and shareholders,"said Kraft chief executive Roger K. Deromedi. Analysts said Wrigley had about 7.8 percent of the U.S. confectionery market before the sale was announced. Kraft had about 4.7 percent.
The IPKat says that's an awful lot for Wrigleys to swallow.
Click here for more on Altoids, adenoids, asteroids and aneroids.
More on Life Savers here, here (seems to be a Nestle brand in Australia) and here