Jacqueline Badger Mars shares ownership of Mars Inc., the world’s largest confectioner. The McLean, Virginia-based closely held company makes candy (M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Way), chewing gum (Juicy Fruit, Orbit), pet chow (Pedigree, Whiskas) and packaged foods (Ben’s Original, Suzi Wan). It has annual revenue of almost $50 billion.
The majority of Mars’s fortune is derived from a one-third interest in McLean, Virginia-based Mars Inc., a closely held US candy, food and pet products company. The Mars family is the sole shareholder of the company, according to private company filings.
The analysis assumes the fortune was inherited equally by third-generation siblings Jacqueline, John and Forrest Jr. The one-third attributed to Forrest Jr. was split equally among his four children after his death in 2016. The company declined to comment on the breakdown of individual shareholders.
The business is the world’s largest candy maker and best known for such confections as Snickers, Milky Way and Twix. With its purchase of Wrigley in 2008 for $23 billion, it commands more than half the US chewing-gum market, according to Euromonitor, and sells such brands as Big Red, Doublemint, Eclipse, Juicy Fruit and Orbit. Its other popular candies include Skittles, Starburst, Life Savers and Altoids. Its food brands include Ben’s Original and Suzi Wan, and pet food and care brands include Pedigree, Whiskas and Eukanuba.
Mars has annual sales of almost $50 billion, according to a Moody’s report from April 2023. It’s valued using the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiples of three publicly traded peer companies: Hershey, Nestle and Mondelez International.
Mars acquired animal-hospital chain, VCA, for $7.6 billion in 2017 and snack-bar maker Kind for $5 billion in 2020. Both assets are included in Mars Inc.’s valuation.
Mars has $17 billion in loans and other debt as of May 2023, according to Bloomberg data. The billionaire’s share of that debt is included as a liability.
Mars’s external spokeswoman Amy Weiss declined to comment on the valuation.
Education: Bryn Mawr College
Grandfather Frank Mars, who was born in 1882, learned to hand-dip chocolate as a schoolboy. He began making and selling buttercream candies from his home in Tacoma, Washington, in 1911 and moved the business to Minneapolis in 1920, operating under the banner Nougat House. A long string of confectionery blockbusters followed, including Milky Way, Snickers and 3 Musketeers.
After his death in 1934, Frank’s only son, Forrest, took over the family business and expanded it into pet care with the purchase of Chappie canned dog food and, later, into packaged food with the addition of what would become Uncle Ben’s rice. Forrest stepped down from day-to-day management of the global food manufacturer in 1969, turning over control to Jacqueline’s two brothers, John and Forrest Jr., who died in 2016.
The billionaire, who continues to serve on the company’s board, makes occasional appearances at art world and equestrian events. She is the benefactor of the US Equestrian Team Foundation’s Jacqueline B. Mars Competition & Training Grant, which helps train US riders.
- 1911 Grandfather Frank C. Mars begins selling buttercream candy.
- 1929 Mars Inc. relocates to Chicago. Forrest Mars joins the business.
- 1930 Company begins selling Snickers bars.
- 1932 Forrest Mars moves to England to set up his own confectionery.
- 1958 Mars Inc. enters the cat food business with new Whiskas line.
- 1961 Jacqueline graduates from Bryn Mawr with degree in anthropology.
- 1999 Father Forrest Mars dies at the age of 96.
- 2008 Mars acquires Wrigley for $23 billion.