Simpson Thacher scoops $23bn chewing gum deal for Mars

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is celebrating after picking up the lead role for Mars on its $23bn bid for Wrigley’s, a deal which will create the world’s largest confectionery company.

Previously, Mars has turned to Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom for M&A advice. On this deal, Skadden is already involved, with Chicago partner Bill Kunkel leading the team advising longstanding client Wrigley. Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker corporate partner Charles Baker represented financial adviser JPMorgan.

Simpson M&A partner John Finley, who is leading his firm’s team on the deal, confirmed it was his firm’s first instruction from Mars.

“We pitched for it and it worked out ok,” quipped Finley. Finley’s team also includes fellow corporate partner Kathryn King Sudol with senior associate Christopher May. Partner Jennifer Hobbs is leading Simpson’s team on the financing.

Wrigley will become a private company as a result of the deal, which has already been unanimously approved by its board of directors. It will operate as a separate, standalone subsidiary, retaining both its headquarters in Chicago and Bill Wrigley as executive chairman.

Funding for the transaction includes approximately $11bn from Mars, a $5.7bn committed senior debt facility from Goldman Sachs, and $4.4bn of subordinated debt from Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, which has committed to purchase a minority equity interest for $2.1bn.