The creation of the world's largest confectionery company is now complete following the closure of Mars's acquisition of gum giant Wrigley in a deal worth US$23bn.

Mars announced yesterday (6 October) that it had sealed a deal first announced in April.

According to data from Euromonitor, the enlarged company will account for 14.4% of worldwide confectionery sales, leapfrogging Cadbury with 10.1%.

Wrigley becomes a fully-owned subsidiary of Mars but will operate as a stand-alone company and retain its headquarters in Chicago.

As part of the deal, Mars will transfer its non-chocolate sugar confectionery brands, including Skittles and Starburst, to Wrigley. The gum maker will also take on production sites in Australia, Mexico and the Czech Republic.

"Today is the first day in an exciting new chapter for the Wrigley Company," said Bill Wrigley, Jr., Wrigley's executive chairman. "The similar histories, values and principles shared by Mars and Wrigley provide a strong common foundation on which to build a bright future together. Becoming part of Mars opens up a world of opportunity for the expansion of our brands, the growth of our business, and the development of our associates."

Mars president and CEO Paul Michaels added: "The combination of our two strong international businesses, with best-in-class global brands creates one of the world's leading confectionery companies."

Investment fund Berkshire Hathaway, run by billionaire investor Warren Buffett put up $4.4bn to part-finance the deal and will acquire a "minority equity investment" in the Wrigley subsidiary.