CHICAGO: William Wrigley Jr Company, besmircher of the planet's sidewalks, is moving into the chocolate business with a $300 million (€230.33m; £151.16m) 80% controlling stake in Russian premium chocolatier A Korkunov. The US company also intends to acquire the remaining 20% of Korkunov "over time".

Wrigley has been eager to enter the chocolate business for several years, having failed in its $12.5 billion bid to buy Hershey [WARC News: 18-Sep-02]. Korkunov has limited distribution stateside and the focus of the acquisition is the Russian market, according to a Wrigley spokesman.

Says the gum giant's executive chairman Bill Wrigley Jr: "We have always said we would enter the chocolate segment of the total confectionery business if the right opportunity to create value for the Wrigley Company became available - and this acquisition presents such an opportunity."

Data sourced from USA Today; additional content by WARC staff