KANSAS CITY, MO. — Whether the goal is to expand production capabilities, international reach, increase capital or mark their territory in today’s lucrative pet market, pet food and treat manufacturers are joining forces with each other and private equity firms to grow their businesses.

So far in 2021, more than 20 mergers and acquisitions have been announced among manufacturers alone, with another 10-or-so retailer or distributor acquisitions and nearly 20 — probably more — made by suppliers to this industry.

Pet Food Processing has compiled this M&A news to provide a snapshot of this industry trend, from January 2021 and up to just earlier this week.


Manufacturer acquisitions

To kick off the year, BrightPet Nutrition Group announced its acquisition of MiracleCorp Products on Jan. 4, adding to its existing lineup of pet nutrition brands. BrightPet itself was acquired by Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) Capital Partners in October 2020.

H.I.G Capital, an international investment firm, acquired Brazilian pet food manufacturer Brasília Indústria e Comércio de Alimentos LTDA (FVO) in February, which is one of the top 10 largest pet food companies throughout the country. FVO manufacturs several premium dog and cat food brands and distributes to all 27 states within Brazil.

Belgium-based United Petfood expanded its wet pet food capabilities by acquiring United Kingdom-based Cambrian Pet Foods in March. In addition to adding tray and can capabilities, the acquisition is expected to enhance United Petfood’s in-house private-label manufacturing.

In April, Manna Pro Products announced the acquisition of ZuPreem, a premium manufacturer of nutrition products for companion birds, small mammals and zoo animals. This added to Manna Pro’s existing pet nutrition portfolio including Bullymake, which it acquired in January 2021; Doggie Dailies, acquired in 2020; Hero Pet Brands, acquired in 2019; and VetScience LLC, the producer of Fruitables natural dog treats and supplements, acquired in May 2018.

New Zealand-based Natural Pet Food Group was acquired by KKR, a global investment firm, in early May. The pet food manufacturer produces three brands of wet and dry food and treats: K9 Natural, Feline Natural and Meat Mates.

Grupo Nutresa S.A. shook on an agreement to acquire Belina, a Costa Rican animal nutrition company with a pet food business segment, in late May. Pet food accounted for 70% of Belina’s sales in 2020, which totaled $34 million across its three business segments: pet food, aquaculture and feed. This acquisition represented Grupo Nutresa’s entrance into the pet food market.

In June, Chasing Our Tails purchased Marsh Dog, shortly after the sustainable dog treat business announced it would be going out of business.

BRF Pet, the pet nutrition division of global food producer BRF S.A., inked an agreement to acquire Brazilian pet food manufacturer Mogiana Alimentos S.A. in July. BRF will technically acquire Paraguassu Participações S.A. and Affinity Petcare Brasil, which own 100% of Mogiana Alimentos capital stock.

On July 6, General Mills completed the acquisition of Tyson Foods’ pet treat business, including its Nudges, Top Chews and True Chews dog treat brands. The $1.2 billion transaction, first announced in May, was paid in cash and included Tyson’s pet treat manufacturing plant in Independence, Iowa.

In early July, Swedencare AB announced its acquisition of Vetio, a contract manufacturer specializing in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical dermatology and liquid supplement products for companion animals. The transaction was valued at approximately $181.5 million and is expected to enhance Swedencare’s capabilities in the United States and Canada.

Texas-based Mid America Pet Food, LLC announced Aug. 2 its acquisition of Nature’s Logic, which joined VICTOR Super Premium Pet Food and Eagle Mountain Pet Food among the company’s existing pet portfolio. Nature’s Logic — which manufactures all-natural dry and raw pet foods, baked and freeze-dried treats, and supplements — will continue to operate as a separate business and brand under Mid America’s ownership.

Family-owned investment firm NXMH, based in Belgium, acquired Whitebridge Pet Brands, LLC in early August. Whitebridge owns and manufactures several dog and cat food and treat brands, including Tiki Pets, Dogswell, Pet Botanics, Crazy Dog, Buddy Biscuits, Cloud Star and Grizzly Pet Products, the last of which it acquired in March. Whitebridge brands span complete-and-balanced pet food formulations, meal toppers, dry and wet products, supplements and, with its acquisition of Cardinal Pet Care in 2020, pet grooming and remedy products.

Overseas, European co-manufacturer Partner in Pet Food reported a pending agreement to acquire Mispol S.A. from parent company and private equity firm NDX Group, UAB. Mispol is a private label manufacturer based in Poland whose capabilities and distribution are expected to complement Partner in Pet Food’s network.

Earlier in 2021, Partner in Pet Food made another acquisition, this time of Landidni Giuntini, the largest private label dry pet food manufacturer in Italy according to the company.

Muenster Milling Company, a fourth-generation family-owned pet food and ingredient manufacturer based in Texas, announced Aug. 12 it had been acquired by private equity firm Kainos Capital. The firm expects to “build a broader platform” for the company and to “further professionalize Muenster’s manufacturing capabilities,” according to Andrew Rosen, managing partner at Kainos.

After acquiring Prairie Dog Pet Products in June 2020, Kinderhook Industries, LLC led Prairie Dog on to acquire Himalayan Corporation in April – but didn’t stop there. In mid-August, Primal Pet Foods announced it had been acquired by Kinderhook, making it the fourth pet nutrition company under Kinderhook’s ownership. In the same announcement, Kinderhook shared that, with the addition of Primal Pet Foods, it was uniting its four pet brands — Holistic Hound, Prairie Dog, Himalayan Corporation and Primal Pet Foods — under one powerhouse nutrition company: Primal Pet Group. This new company will manufacture products for all four brands as well as for private label customers and retailers.

Months after announcing its intentions to acquire McLovin’s Pet Food, Caduceus Software Systems, Corp. shared mid-August it had completed the acquisition. Caduceus Corp. plans to expand distribution of McLovin’s products, as well as develop its sales and product innovation strategies.

In late August, Zesty Paws signed an acquisition agreement with Health & Happiness (H&H) Group International Holdings Ltd., which acquired Solid Gold Pet in November 2020 for $163 million. Financial terms of its transaction with Zesty Paws, a functional pet supplement manufacturer, were not disclosed.

Most recently, ADM announced intentions to acquire a majority stake (75%) of P4 Companies, the owner of several pet treat and supplement co-manufacturing businesses operating in Illinois and Colorado. P4 Companies is valued at $600 million, according to ADM, and the acquisition would include PetDine, Pedigree Ovens, The Pound Bakery and NutraDine, representing a wide array of treat, supplement and meal topper manufacturing capabilities.


Retailer and distributor acquisitions

Dane Creek Capital Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary United Raw Pet Foods Inc. have had a busy year, acquiring three pet retailers in Canada as it continues to grow its raw pet food network across the country.

In January, Dane Creek and United Raw acquired Growlies Pet Foods Inc., a pet specialty retailer based in Victoria, British Columbia, focused on the sale of raw pet foods, as well as some dehydrated, freeze-dried and canned diets, premium pet treats and supplements.

In early April, the company purchased The Wild Side Pet Boutique, another pet specialty retailer also focused on raw, dehydrated, baked and freeze-dried pet foods. The Wild Side operates one store in Nanaimo and another in Qualicum Beach, both in British Columbia.

Most recently, Dane Creek acquired two pet specialty retailers in August, both based in Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Lucky Paws Enterprises Inc. and A Pet’s Life Ventures Inc. 

In January, Franchise Group, Inc. acquired Pet Supplies Plus for $700 million. Pet Supplies Plus was previously owned by Sentinel Capital Partners, which acquired the company in December 2018 and oversaw widespread expansion of the pet specialty franchise.

VetPartners purchased VetUK, a leading online pet care product supplier in the United Kingdom, in April.

Pet product distributor Pet Food Experts acquired United Pacific Pet on April 26, representing its largest transaction to date at the time.

Northern Star Acquisition Corp. completed its merger with Barkbox, Inc. now “The Original BARK Company,” estimating the subscription-based pet product company’s enterprise value at $1.6 billion and taking the company public on the New York Stock Exchange.

Global private equity Cinven acquired two Italy-based pet store chains in June: Arcaplanet and Maxi Zoo Italia, a subsidiary of Fressnapf Group.

Legault Group, the owner of Mondou pet stores, fully acquired Ren’s Pets in Ontario in late July, marking Legault’s first acquisition outside of Québec.

In August, Hellman & Friedman entered an agreement with Zooplus to take over ownership of the e-commerce pet supply platform. The deal is valued at roughly €3 billion ($3.5 billion USD).

Stay tuned for a recap of mergers and acquisitions involving suppliers to the pet food and treat processing industry in the coming weeks.

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