Meet the Mars family, heirs to the Snickers and M&M's candy empire, who spent years avoiding the limelight and are America's third-wealthiest family 'dynasty'
- The Mars family has a net worth of nearly $90 billion and helms Mars Inc., the candy empire that brought you Snickers, Twix, and M&M's.
- The six family members that rank on the Forbes 400 list have a reported fortune of $72 billion, making them America's third-richest family "dynasty," according to a recent report.
- The Mars family is known for keeping to themselves, but in recent years, they've started to speak out.
The Mars family sits on top of a delicious empire.They're the heirs to the candy throne that is Mars Inc., maker of Snickers, Mars Bars, Milky Way Bars, Twix, M&M's, and more - not to mention a portfolio of PetCare products, drinks, and gum, among others.Advertisement
The 106-year-old company has helped the Mars family build a reported fortune of $89.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. The six family members who rank on the Forbes 400 list share $72 billion of that fortune, making them America's third-richest family wealth "dynasty," according to the Institute for Policy Studies' "Billionaire Bonanza" report.
Press-shy and limelight-avoidant, the Mars family remains a bit of a mystery. They've been known to keep the company "notoriously private," in the words of Business Insider's Cadie Thompson. The headquarters have been called "anonymous" by Guardian reporter Andrew Clark.However, Mars Inc. has more recently started trying to shed its secretive history. During the last few years, the Mars family and company executives have started to speak out.
Here's what we know about the Mars family and Mars Inc.
The Mars family's $89.7 billion fortune is rooted in its family-owned candy empire, Mars Inc. Founder Frank Mars learned to hand-dip chocolates at a young age; in 1911, he began selling candy from his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington.
Mars' son, Forrest Sr., joined the company in 1929.Advertisement
Unlike his parents, Forrest Sr. was relatively frugal. He raised his children the same way — while they attended exclusive boarding schools, they did chores at home to earn an allowance.
When Forrest Sr. died in 1999, his children — Jacqueline, John, and Forrest Jr. Mars — inherited a stake in the company.Advertisement
Jacqueline is the only sibling with a lifestyle "close to reflecting her billionaire status," wrote Jan Pottker for The Washingtonian in 2008.
Jacqueline and her ex-husband David Badger have three children. Their son, Stephen Badger, is the chairman of Mars Inc.Advertisement
Not much is known about Jacqueline's brother John, but in March 2015, he was made an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth II.
Jacqueline and John's brother Forrest Jr. passed away in 2016. His four daughters — Victoria, Valerie, Pamela, and Marijke — each inherited an 8% stake in Mars Inc.Advertisement
For years, the family was known for being "notoriously private," keeping their personal lives and Mars Inc. out of the public eye.
Today, six business segments comprise Mars Inc.: chocolate, PetCare, food, Wrigley, drinks, and symbioscience.Advertisement
While the company has previously been criticized for not giving enough, Mars Inc. says it makes anonymous contributions. In 2012, they donated $5 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for renovations and a new gallery.
While the Mars family has remained private over the years, it's helped them keep their anonymity, Joseph Astrachan, an expert in family enterprises, told The Guardian.Advertisement
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