Mars Inc. will acquire Kind North America, the maker of Kind bars and one of the country’s largest snack food companies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the New York Times cited sources who said the deal values Kind NA at $5 billion.

The move builds on a partnership between Mars and New York-based Kind that formed in 2017 when Mars bought a minority stake in Kind and began working to distribute its bars and iother products to the international market. As a result, Kind expanded into more than 35 countries and eight categories (including frozen and refrigerated), and launched new products such as Kind Bark, Kind Frozen Bars and Kind Smoothie Bowls.

The acquisition will bring Kind North America and Kind International under one umbrella that operates independently within the Mars portfolio, according to a press release.

Grant F. Reid, CEO, Mars, said, “When we began this partnership, I said it was one built on mutual admiration and a shared vision for growth. After three years, you can see the impact, as together we have grown the healthy snacking category and brought Kind and the Kind Promise to 35 countries and into new categories. We’re delighted to continue to build on this success and welcome Kind North America into the Mars Family of Companies.”

In addition to globally known candy brands such as M&M’s, Snickers and others, Mars makes foods that include Ben’s Original rice, snack items, and Pedigree and Royal Canin pet food, among others. It also owns several chains of veterinary clinics including Banfield Pet Hospitals.

Kind Founder and Executive Chairman, Daniel Lubetzky, will play a key role in the future development and expansion of Kind. He will retain an ongoing financial stake in Kind. Lubetzky told the New York Times that the company does about $1.5 billion in retail sales annually, up from $1 billion in 2017.

“I am so proud of how well the Mars and Kind teams have complemented and strengthened each other over the past three years,” Lubetzky said in a statement. “We are now well-positioned to further advance our efforts and continue building a foremost health and wellness platform. As we said in 2017, Mars is a company that shares Kind’s passion for business as a force for good, and I am confident that together, we will be able to make our small contribution to make this world a little Kinder.”

Photo courtesy Kind