Exploring The Mars Family Members and How Much They’re Worth Today

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Mars Inc., founded in 1911, is owned by the Mars family and is one of the world’s richest families in the world. Here’s a look at the members and the family’s net worth.

The Mars Family, according to Investopedia, is one of the wealthiest families in the world right now.

According to Bloomberg, with $224.5 billion of estimated wealth since 2022, the Walton family is the richest in the entire world.

Joining the Waltons are the Koch Family, Al Saud Family, Ambani Family, and the Hermès family, just to mention a few.

In November 2023, news broke that the U.S. giant Mars was set to buy Britain’s Hotel Chocolat for $662m.

Here’s everything we know about the Mars family; their members and net worth.

What is Mars and who owns Mars?

Mars, the Walmart of candy, is a multigenerational family business that is ubiquitous and wildly popular.

It is known for being the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints, and fruity confections. 

Owned by the Mars family, Mars Inc. is one of the largest candy companies in the world.

Franklin Clarence Mars was an American business magnate Franklin Clarence Mars founded the food company Mars, Incorporated, on June 23, 1911, in Tacoma, Washington, United States.

Mars’ son Forrest Edward Mars developed M&M’s and the Mars bar. 

The company is now being run by some of their children, the fourth generation of Mars family members.

Siblings Jacqueline and John Mars, whose grandfather, Frank Mars, founded the company, are co-owners of the Mars company. They each have a net worth of $38.3 billion and are tied for No. 31 on Forbes‘ list of billionaires as of Sept. 20, 2023. 

The American family has created some of the most delicious and popular sweet treats, including Snickers, M&M’s, Twix, Mars Bars, and Milky Way.

Mars Inc. also expanded to include gum, drinks, and pet care products in their sales.

The ventures in other areas outside of candy began in 1934 when the company acquired Chappel Bros, a United Kingdom-based dog food business.

That purchase has since grown considerably for Mars Inc.

They now own major pet food brands like Pedigree, Whiskas, and Royal Canin.

Today, the company is better known for making M&Ms than for its eponymous Mars bar.

In 2017, the world’s largest candy company diversified with the purchase of VCA, a pet care company, for $9.1 billion.

In 2023, the Mars family agreed to pay $661 million for Britain’s biggest independent chocolate maker.

Stephen Badger. Photo: Business Insider

Who is in the Mars family?

Several members of the Mars family are involved with the candy company and serve on the board of directors.

Here we take a look at the Mars clan and their business roles.

Frank Mars

The Mars Inc. journey first began with founder Frank Mars back in 1911, when he learned to hand-dip chocolates, per the South China Morning Post.

Frank soon began selling candy out of his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington.

He gained some financial success before The Great Depression affected the nation from around 1929 to 1941.

After marrying his wife, Ethel, and having their son, Forrest Sr, the couple reportedly bought a $20,000 Duesenberg town car and occupied two vacation homes in Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Nevertheless, the family continued its pursuits as a candy company and created the first chocolate nougat, laying the foundation for Snickers and Milky Way chocolate bars.

Forrest Sr

The year 1929 saw Forrest Sr take his place in the company.

However, after a falling out with his father, Forrest Sr was given the Milky Way recipe, and he ventured to England to create his own company.

It was their iconic candies like Mars Bars, M&M’s, Twix, and 3 Musketeers that truly began.

In 1964, Forrest Sr moved back to America and merged his company with his father’s.

Forrest Sr also went on to have three children – Jaqueline, John, and Forrest Jr.

Forrest Jr

Along with his siblings, Forest Jr inherited a stake in Mars Inc.

The businessman’s son actively managed much of Mars Inc. for some time before passing away in 2016.

In April 2023, it was reported that Jacqueline and John co-own the company but aren’t actively involved in the company’s operations.

Forrest Jr’s four daughters

Forrest Jr was a father of four daughters – Victoria, Valerie, Pamela, and Marijke.

All four have $6 billion spread among them evenly through an eight percent stake.

The daughters also reportedly serve on the board of directors for the company.

Mars Chairman Stephen Badger pictured in 2018
Mars Chairman Stephen Badger pictured in 2018. Credit: AP

Stephen Badger

Stephen Badger is the son of Jaqueline.

Badger is the current chairman of Mars Inc. and has explained intentions to make the company more transparent, as it was previously known to be private and full of “secrecy.”

“For most of our history, in fact, for 99 percent of our history, we’ve chosen not to be in the public eye and we’ve really wanted our brands to engage consumers. And yet times have changed,” Badger told SCMP.

Jacqueline Mars. Photo: @mariapirand/Instagram

How much is the Mars family worth?

As said earlier, the Mars family is one of the richest families in the world and has amassed an eye-watering fortune that rakes in billions of dollars thanks to their candy empire.

As of today, the famous U.S. family has a staggering estimated net worth of $94 billion, per Forbes.

Their net worth places them in the third spot of families with the most money in the United States since 2020.

According to the wealth website Forbes, the company enjoys sales in the region of $40 billion.

U.S. giant Mars to buy Britain’s Hotel Chocolat for $662m

Britain’s Hotel Chocolat (HOTC.L) agreed to a 534 million pound ($662 million) takeover offer from Mars Inc, as the specialist chocolatier succumbs to the U.S. food giant to help it grow internationally, netting its founders a tidy profit.

Shares in Hotel Chocolat soared in early deals after the two companies announced the deal on Thursday. They were trading at 364 pence, close to the 375 pence per share cash offer price that was recommended by the UK company’s board and which was a 170% premium to Hotel Chocolat’s closing price on Wednesday.

“We think that this is a knock-out bid,” Peel Hunt analysts said, adding they were not expecting any counterbid.

Hotel Chocolat’s Chief Executive Angus Thirlwell and co-founder Peter Harris who both own 27% of the equity, according to LSEG data, have said they will accept the offer, meaning the deal will earn them about 144 million pounds each.

Set up 20 years ago, Hotel Chocolat’s stated aim was to make chocolate exciting and it succeeded in bringing ethical affordable luxury to the British high street, with over 130 stores.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of January, per Reuters.