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#180 Valerie Mars $8.09B

Random fact: Serves as the head of corporate development for Mars Inc.


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), and had revenue of $35 billion in 2016.

As of July 24, 2017:
Last change -$28.6M (-0.3%)
YTD change +$280M (+3.6%)
Industry Food & Beverage
Biggest asset Mars Inc.
Citizenship United States
Age 58
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Valerie Mars's net worth of $8.09B 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

Latest News

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. Her three sisters, aunt and uncle own the rest. Her stake is calculated based on an equal division of her late father, Forrest Mars Jr.'s 33 percent stake. He died in July 2016.

Mars Inc. had revenue of $35 billion in 2016, according to company spokesperson Amy Weiss. It also had $10.25 billion in total debt as of May 2016, according to Bloomberg data.

The business is the world's largest candy maker, according to trade publication Candy Industry, 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, and sells brands such as Big Red, Doublemint, Eclipse, Juicy Fruit and Orbit. On Oct. 6, 2016, Mars announced plans to buy Berkshire Hathaway's $2.1 billion preferred stake in Wrigley and consolidate its chocolate and candy business. 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.

The company is valued as a whole using revenue of $35 billion and the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-ebitda multiples of three publicly traded peer companies: Hershey, Nestle and Mondelez International.

Mars announced plans to acquire animal-hospital chain, VCA Inc., for $7.7 billion in January 2017. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of the year.

Jonathan Mudd, a spokesman for Mars, declined to comment on the valuation.


Birthdate: 1/20/1959
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: Columbia Graduate School of Business, Master's Degree Yale University, Economics, Bachelor's Degree

Valerie Mars was born on January 20, 1959, 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 Yale and an MBA from Columbia Business School, Valerie Mars landed a position with the training program at the New York-based bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. She rose to the role of assistant secretary before leaving to join Whitman Hefferman Rhein, a boutique investment company, as controller.

Mars joined the family business in 1992 when she began working part-time for the M&M brand on special projects. In her current role as head of corporate development she focuses on acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures across the entire company.

A resident of Germany, she is married and has two sons.

  • 1911 Great-grandfather Frank C. Mars begins selling buttercream candy.
  • 1930 Mars begins selling the Snickers bar.
  • 1945 The M&Ms brand is marketed to the general public for the first time.
  • 1959 Valerie Mars is born to Forrest Mars Jr. and Virgina Cretella.
  • 1984 Marries Phillip White, an economics professor.
  • 1992 Starts working part-time for Mars's M&M division, focusing on special projects.
  • 2008 Mars acquires Wrigley for $23 billion.
  • 2014 Joins the board of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.