Mars Inc., the closely held maker of M&M’s candies and Uncle Ben’s rice, agreed to buy three of Procter & Gamble Co.’s pet-food brands for $2.9 billion, making it a bigger challenger to Nestle SA’s Purina empire.

The transaction, which excludes the brands’ businesses in some markets, mainly in Europe, will be completed in the second half of the year, the companies said today in a statement.

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