Mars Buys Kind Bar North America For $5 Billion
Candy manufacturer Mars Inc said it would buy Kind North America valued at about $5 billion according to the New York Times. Kind North America will function as a separate business within Mars and the acquisition will add to Mars’ existing partnership with Kind International that operates across 35 countries (3 years ago Mars bought a minority stake in Kind). Daniel Lubetzky, Kind's founder, will retain ongoing financial stake in Kind.
“When we began this partnership, I said it was one built on mutual admiration and a shared vision for growth,” the chief executive of Mars, Grant Reid, said in a statement. “After three years, you can see the impact, as together we have grown the healthy-snacking category.”
Kind was founded in 2004 and found a big boost when it made a deal with Starbucks in 2009. Mr. Lubetzky has made social change a key part of the company’s mission completing philanthropic endeavors through the Kind Foundation. Sales at Kind initially jumped when the pandemic began, Mr. Lubetzky said. Kind’s sales have grown from roughly $1 billion at the end of 2017 to $1.5 billion. Kind now operates in 35 countries, including China, Germany and France, and its range of products has expanded and includes frozen items, leaning on Mars’s technology to create dairy-free frozen treat bars.
Mr. Lubetzky spoke about the deal saying, “We don’t need to worry about getting a return in 2021......We can think about investments that make sense for two, three, five, 10 years out.”
“It is challenging in the year of Covid to introduce new items across the world,” Mr. Lubetzky said. “Kind is gaining a lot of traction globally, but it’s just taking longer than we would have liked.”
“I very much believe that disruptive brands have a very long future — just less so in 2020 and 2021,” Mr. Lubetzky said.
Mars has made a series of none candy acquisitions over the years including pet food brands such as Iams, Pedigree and Royal Canin. It also in the last few years bought the veterinary company VCA for $7.7 billion and Europe’s AniCura, a chain of animal clinics and hospitals.