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#157 Marijke Mars $8.50B

Random fact: The first M&M candies were made for the U.S. military in 1941.


Mars shares ownership of Mars Inc., the world's largest confectioner. The closely held, McLean, Virginia-based company makes candy (M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Way), chewing gum (Juicy Fruit, Orbit), pet chow (Pedigree, Whiskas) and packaged foods (Uncle Ben's, Suzi Wan). It had revenue of more than $35 billion in 2017.

As of Jan. 19, 2019:
Last change +$35.7M (+0.4%)
YTD change +$341M (+4.2%)
Industry Food & Beverage
Biggest asset Mars Inc.
Citizenship United States
Age 53
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Marijke Mars's net worth of $8.50B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Mars's fortune is derived from her 8 percent stake in McLean, Virginia-based Mars Inc., a closely held U.S. candy, food and pet products company. The Mars family is the sole shareholder of the company, according to the Orbis company database. The company declined to comment on the breakdown of individual shareholders.

The analysis assumes the fortune was inherited equally by third-generation siblings Jacqueline, John and Forrest Jr. It also assumes the late Forrest Jr.'s stake was split equally among his four children, Victoria, Valerie, Marijke and Pamela, after his death in 2016.

The business is the world's largest candy maker and best known for confections such as Snickers, Milky Way and Twix. With its purchase of Wrigley in 2008 for $23 billion, it commands more than half of the U.S. chewing-gum market, according to Euromonitor. Its other popular candies include Skittles, Starburst, Life Savers and Altoids. Its food brands include Uncle Ben's and Suzi Wan, and pet food and care brands include Pedigree, Whiskas and Eukanuba.

Mars Inc. had revenue of more than $35 billion in 2017, according to the company's external spokeswoman, Amy Weiss, and 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 Inc., for $7.6 billion in September 2017. The asset is included as a standalone entity and valued based on the acquisition cost. 

Mars Inc has $12.9 billion in loans and other debt as of November 2018, according to Bloomberg data. The billionaire's share of that debt is included as a liability.

Weiss declined to comment on the valuation.


Birthdate: 1965
Family: Married, No children
Education: Duke University, BACHELOR'S DEGREE, FORMER

Marijke Mars was born in 1965, one of four daughters of the late Forrest Mars Jr. and his first wife, Virginia Cretella.

Her great-grandfather, Frank Mars, 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 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 his two sons, John and Forrest Jr., who died in July 2016.

After earning her undergraduate degree from Duke University, Marijke Mars joined the family business in Los Angeles where she worked as regional manager at one of Mars Inc.'s pet food companies, Kal Kan Foods. She now works at Mars Food, which makes a dozen food brands including Uncle Ben's and Suzi Wan.

  • 1911 Great-grandfather Frank C. Mars begins selling buttercream candy.
  • 1930 Mars begins selling the Snickers bar.
  • 1959 Forrest Mars Sr. moves the headquarters from New Jersey to Washington D.C.
  • 1965 Marijke Mars is born to Frank Mars Jr. and Virginia Cretella.
  • 1987 Earns her undergraduate degree from Duke University.
  • 1991 Marries Stephen Doyle in Washington D.C.
  • 1998 Mars Inc. enters the organic food business with purchase of Seeds of Change.
  • 2008 Mars acquires Wrigley for $23 billion.