LISBON, OHIO — Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) Capital Partners announced Oct. 5 the acquisition of a majority stake in BrightPet Nutrition Group, a premium manufacturer and co-manufacturer of several pet food and treat brands.

As the pet food and treat industry continues to grow at a steady pace, private equity interest in successful pet food and treat businesses grows alongside it. This transaction is yet another of many private equity acquisitions seen in this industry over the last several years.

BrightPet was founded on the consolidation of Ohio Pet Foods, Inc., Blackwood Pet Food, LLC, and Southern Tier Pet Nutrition, LLC in April 2016, an effort which was led by Graham Partners, a Penn.-based private equity firm.

Since 2016, the company has developed its operations and facilities, launching new products and making additional acquisitions to bolster the business. Currently, BrightPet runs three pet food and treat businesses: kibble co-manufacturing, treat co-manufacturing, and manufacturing of its three company-owned brands, Blackwood, Adirondack and By Nature.

BrightPet is a third-generation family business, owned and managed by the Golladay family since 1962 when the family co-manufactured pet food and treats under Ohio Pet Foods, Inc. According to A&M Capital Partners, several members of the Golladay family will remain in BrightPet executive roles and as minority owners.

“The energy of the A&M Capital Partners team and its dedication to our business have been evident since day one,” said Matthew Golladay, who has been promoted from president to chief executive officer of BrightPet following its acquisition. “With its support, we are well-positioned to not only continue, but also accelerate the aggressive and record-setting growth BrightPet has experienced the last several years.

“We are eager to continue this work with the support of our new partners and can’t wait to take advantage of new opportunities that A&M Capital Partners brings to the table,” he added. “We thank Graham Partners for its support in helping us grow over the past several years.”

BrightPet holds several quality and food safety certifications, including a USDA Certified Organic certification. The company uses its signature slow-cooking method to produce premium and super-premium pet food and treats for its own brands and brand partners.

“A core tenet of our strategy is to invest in established and successful businesses where we can partner with management teams to accelerate growth in stable and growing industries,” said Ryan McCarthy, partner at A&M Capital Partners. “BrightPet is a market leader in the rapidly expanding pet food and treat industry, which we believe will see major, sustained boosts from the growing treatment of pets as family members, the proliferation of small- and medium-sized pet food brands with substantial outsourcing needs, the increased penetration of e-commerce and high demand for U.S.-produced premium pet food.

“We are very excited to partner with the Golladay family and management team to continue to build off of these tailwinds, with a focus on strategic acquisitions and accelerating growth by expanding the Company’s sales channels and product portfolio, and increasing its market penetration,” McCarthy continued. “We are especially proud that the Golladay family and senior management team will continue to own a meaningful equity stake in the company, which reflects the spirit of our partnership and enables them to participate directly in future value creation.” 

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Houlihan Lokey and Dechert advised BrightPet on the acquisition; Morgan Lewis advised the Golladay family; and Kirkland & Ellis provided legal counsel to A&M Capital Partners.

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