Procter & Gamble will sell most of its pet care business to Mars for $2.9 billion as the US consumer-products giant streamlines its businesses, the companies announced Wednesday. The privately held Mars, which started in 1911 as a candy company before expanding into pet care, will acquire P&G pet brands Iams, Eukanuba and Natura in North America, Latin America and some other markets. Mars Petcare global president Todd Lachman said the deal "reinforces our leadership in pet nutrition and veterinary science, attracts world-class talent and grows our world-leading portfolio." The assets being sold account for about 80 percent of P&G's pet-care global sales, the companies said in a statement. The all-cash deal does not involve P&G's assets in primarily European Union countries, which P&G plans to divest separately "Exiting Pet Care is an important step in our strategy to focus P&G's portfolio on the core businesses where we can create the most value for consumers and shareowners," said P&G chief executive A.G. Lafley. The transaction, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014. Lafley has highlighted cost-cutting and greater investment in "core" brands as the strategy to boost performance. In the most recent quarter, chief financial officer Jon Moeller said the company hoped to boost performance in skin care, shampoo and grooming. Dow component P&G rose 0.9 percent to $82.07 in early trade Wednesday.