Mars brand candy bars in a pile
There's A Relentless Dynasty Behind The Mars, Inc. Fortune
By Wendy Gould
The entirety of Mars, Inc., which includes countless brands and is worth $94 billion, is privately owned by the Mars family, the third-richest family in the U.S.
Frank C. Mars founded the Mar-O-Bar Company in 1920, and while the business struggled in its first years, things began looking up after he created the Milky Way bar in 1923.
In 1932, a falling out led son Forrest Mars to leave his father’s company to start his own in England, where he created the Mars Bar and purchased the dog food brand Chappel Bros.
Forrest took over when Frank died in 1934, and the Mars family retreated from the public eye. Forrest became very secretive, and this confidentiality continues to the present day.
As of 2016, the business is owned by two of Forrest’s children, John and Jacqueline. Each has an estimated net worth of $24 billion, and they both rank on the Forbes 400 list.
Mars, Inc. now owns Snickers, M&Ms, Dove, Twix, Starburst, Skittles, most of the big names in gum like Orbit and 5, and a vast network of pet care brands like Iams and Pedigree.
The company is now chaired by Jaqueline's son, Stephen Badger, who has been more transparent in his business dealings, but the family as a whole remains reclusive.