Mars has completed its acquisition of Wrigley in a deal worth $23bn (£13bn), after gaining Wrigley shareholder approval this week.

Wrigley will now become a subsidiary of Mars, but will continue to operate from its existing HQ in Chicago separately from Mars’ chocolate, petcare, symbioscience, food and drink businesses. Mars’ non-chocolate sugar brands, including Skittles, Starburst, Tunes and Lockets, will be transferred to the Wrigley portfolio. This will be the model for all international operations including the UK.

“Mars and Wrigley share a culture of innovation, quality and integrity, as well as focus on providing consumers with great-tasting products,” said Mars president and chief executive Paul Michaels. “The combination of our two strong international businesses, with best-in-class global brands, creates one of the world’s leading confectionery companies.”

The move was described as the first in an exciting new chapter for the Wrigley Company by executive chairman Bill Wrigley Jr. “The similar histories and principles shared by Mars and Wrigley provide a strong common foundation on which to build a bright future,” he said. “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.”

The acquisition, which was first announced in April, was described by Mars UK MD Fiona Dawson as an opportunity to maximise growth. “This is absolutely not about rationalisation – actually it’s the opposite,” she said.