ORRVILLE, Ohio — The J. M. Smucker Co. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in a transaction valued at approximately $1.7 billion, after an estimated tax benefit of $200 million.

Ainsworth is a producer, distributor and marketer of premium pet food and pet snacks, predominately within the United States.  Approximately two-thirds of Ainsworth's sales are generated by its Rachael Ray Nutrish brand, the company said.  Ainsworth also sells pet food and pet snacks under additional branded and private label trademarks.

Pet food and pet snacks has become the largest center-of-the-store category in the U.S. Food and Beverage market, Smucker said, generating more than $30 billion in annual retail sales across all channels.  This acquisition and the addition of the high-growth Nutrish brand will increase the scale and further accelerate the growth profile of the company's pet food business.

"Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is an excellent strategic fit for our company, as the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand adds another high-growth, on-trend brand to our pet food portfolio," said Mark Smucker, chief executive officer of The J.M. Smucker Co. "Their team has done a tremendous job growing this business, building Nutrish into one of the most recognizable premium pet food brands in the United States.  We look forward to working with the talented Ainsworth team, as we know their passion for pets runs as deep as ours."

Smucker anticipates the acquired business to contribute net sales of approximately $800 million in the first full year after closing the transaction.

Ainsworth is a privately-held company based in Meadville, Pa. In addition to its headquarters, the transaction includes two manufacturing facilities located in Meadville, Pa., and Frontenac, Kas., and a leased distribution facility in Greenville, Pa. Smucker anticipates over 700 Ainsworth employees will join the J.M. Smucker Co. in conjunction with the transaction.  Ainsworth operates two additional manufacturing facilities that are primarily used to provide contract manufacturing services to third-party pet food distributors.  Those facilities and the associated business are not included in this transaction.

The transaction is expected to close early in Smucker’s fiscal year beginning May 1, subject to customary closing conditions including receipt of required regulatory approvals.

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