KANSAS CITY, MO. — The pet food space continues to soar throughout the globe, achieving billions in sales over recent years. In fact, this market is estimated to top $137.4 billion in revenue by the end of the decade, a whopping 52% increase from today’s levels, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
With the value of this market clear, and only expected to rise, the industry has been buzzing with mergers and acquisitions. From December 2022 to June 2023, Pet Food Processing covered 28 mergers and acquisitions in the space. Continue reading for more on this M&A activity.
At the end of January, United Petfood revealed its intention to acquire a stake in Turkish pet food producer Lider Pet Food. Lider operates two production facilities, producing dry and wet pet food and treats, as well as feed for birds, rabbits and rodents. According to United Petfood, Lider remains fully self-managed.
Voff Premium Pet Food acquired Energique, a Dutch raw pet food manufacturer, at the beginning of February. The acquisition marked Voff’s first foray into the Dutch market and expanded its portfolio of natural, premium pet food products. Energique manufactures high-quality raw pet foods at its facility in the Netherlands.
In a stunning strategic move, The JM Smucker Co. divested several of its pet food brands to Post Holdings at the beginning of February. Valued at $1.2 billion, the acquisition included Smucker’s Rachael Ray Nutrish, Nature’s Recipe, 9Lives, Kibbles ‘n Bits and Gravy Train brands, and marked Post’s entrance into the pet nutrition segment. At the end of April, Smucker’s announced the acquisition had been completed.
Human-grade pet food and treat manufacturer Wet Noses was acquired by Beach Point Capital Management, a private equity firm. With a controlling stake in the manufacturer, Beach Point will support Wet Noses as it expands its manufacturing capacity. Prior to the acquisition, the private equity held a minority investment in the company.
On Feb. 16, AlphaPet Ventures announced its acquisition of Herrmann’s Manufaktur, a pet food brand by Herrmann GmbH. The German manufacturer produces high-quality dog food, cat food, pet supplements and treats made with organic raw materials. AlphaPet’s subsidiary Premium Pet Products GmbH took over distribution for Herrmann Manufaktur, providing the manufacturer with a network for online DTC distribution.
Natural Balance and Canidae Pet Foods announced their merger on March 22. The merger brought together a shared passion for improving the wellbeing of pets through premium nutritional offerings. As part of the transaction, I Catterton, majority shareholder of Canidae, and investment firm Nexus Capital Management, majority shareholder of Natural Balance, each contributed capital to support the merger.
On March 23, Trueleaf Petcare Inc. shared its acquisition of True Leaf, a pet supplement brand. Darcy Bomford, CEO of Trueleaf Petcare, is the original founder of the supplement brand, which produces hemp seed-inclusive supplements targeting specific health concerns in pets.
Vafo Group acquired a majority stake in pet food product wholesaler Lupus Foder AB. Founded in 1994 by Inge Larsson and Jan-Christer Andersson, Lupus Foder is a family-owned wholesaler that sells most of its products under its FourFriends label. The agreement allowed VAFO to strengthen its leading position in the Scandinavian pet market by taking over the production of Lupus Foder’s FourFriends brand.
Vetnique Labs was acquired by private equity firm Gryphon Investors on April 20. The transaction represents Gryphon’s first foray into the pet product space and marks its second investment in the pet health and wellness category. Through the acquisition, Gryphon helped Vetnique expand its product portfolio and geographic footprint while supporting its mission of furthering pet health.
Fresh dog food company Butternut Box acquired PsiBufet, a Polish fresh dog food company, expanding its presence throughout Europe. Founded in 2012, PsiBufet specializes in tailored fresh dog food. The acquisition is expected to expand PsiBufet’s product offerings and improve its online customer experience, while enabling Butternut Box to expand its business in Central and Eastern Europe with Poland serving as a “hub.”
On June 13, Mars, Inc., shared it had completed its acquisition of Heska Corporation, an advanced veterinary diagnostic and product company based in Loveland, for $120 per share. Heska will join Mars’ Petcare division, where it will complement the division’s Science & Diagnostics segment—specifically Mars’ Antech Diagnostics business—in a collective effort to support point-of-care veterinary diagnostics and expand their offerings. A definitive agreement for the acquisition was reached by both companies in early April and was later unanimously approved by both companies’ board of directors.
BrightPet Nutrition Group acquired Raw Advantage Processing LLC on June 20. According to BrightPet, the acquisition fortifies its position as a top freeze-dried and frozen raw pet food manufacturer, in terms of capacity. Through the acquisition, Raw Advantage will provide BrightPet with additional scale and manufacturing capabilities, as well as an expansion in the West Coast. BrightPet will help strengthen Raw Advantage’s dry kibble, baked treats and freeze-dried offerings, and expand its footprint into the Midwest and East Coast regions.
Three Dog Bakery’s consumer products division was acquired by investment firm Topspin Consumer Partners on June 21. The division produces Three Dog’s indulgent, humanized treats for dogs. The current management team for Three Dog Bakery’s consumer products segment will remain in their roles and continue leading the company under Topspin’s ownership. Following the acquisition, Three Dog shared its plans to focus on its retail bakery franchise and expand its retail network.
On December 12, 2022, ingredient suppliers Chr. Hansen and Novozymes announced plans to merge. When the merger is completed, the new company will initially be called Novozymes and a new company name will be developed and introduced later. The combined company will have annual sales of approximately €3.5 billion ($3.69 billion), employ nearly 10,000 people, and operate 23 manufacturing plants and 38 research and development centers around the world, according to the companies. They expect the merger to close in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval.
Adisseo entered an agreement to acquire Nor-Feed, a French animal nutrition additive manufacturer, in December 2022. Nor-Feed specializes in plant-based ingredients, which Adisseo would use to expand its offerings of specialty, natural and sustainable ingredient solutions for animal foods . The acquisition closed in February with Nor-Feed continuing to manage its own R&D, production and sales network and Adisseo supporting it through expansion.
At the beginning of February, PPC Flexible Packaging announced its acquisition of StePac, owned by MAPfresh Holdings. StePac produces atmosphere- and humidity-controlled packaging for a wide range of food products. The acquisition expanded PPC Flexible Packaging’s facility footprint to include 14 manufacturing facilities throughout the globe, as well as advanced its packaging capabilities.
BSM Partners detailed its intent to merge with FINN CADY Brand & Consumer Strategies. Through the merger, BSM launched a new practice — BSM Consumer Strategy — combining FINN CADY’s consumer strategy and market research capabilities with BSM’s focus on the pet industry. FINN CADY’s CEO Michael Johnson was appointed principal of the new practice.
Darling Ingredients announced its acquisition of Gelnex, a Brazilian manufacturer of collagen. The acquisition included Gelnex’s facilities located in South America and the United States, increasing Darling’s capacity for gelatin and collagen ingredients by 46,000 tons per year. The acquisition was valued at $1.2 million and officially closed on March 31.
On April 17, high pressure processing (HPP) provider Universal Pure acquired all HPP assets from Texas Food Solutions. According to Universal Pure, the agreement will seek to strengthen its core HPP and cold chain offerings in the Texas and Louisiana regions. Following the acquisition, Universal Pure will operate 22 HPP machines spanning seven locations, enabling the company to meet increased demand for fresh food and pet food products.
Packaging solutions company Amcor signed an agreement on May 8 to acquire Moda Systems, a manufacturer of automated protein packaging machines. Moda specializes in the design and assembly of innovative, high-performance modular vacuum packing solutions for the meat, poultry and dairy industries. Amcor said the acquisition would complement the company’s strength in film, positioning the company as end-to-end packaging solutions provider that encompasses primary packaging, equipment, on-site technical services and parts.
Hillenbrand entered an agreement to acquire Schenck Process Food and Performance Materials (FPM) for $730 million on May 24. The combination of these processing equipment and solutions providers is poised to benefit Hillenbrand’s North American footprint, its advanced processing capabilities in key markets — such as durable plastics and chemicals — and builds on attractive food end-market scale opportunities for the company’s brands, including in the pet food sector. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
Agribusiness giants Viterra and Bunge announced their $18 billion merger on June 13 to create one of the world’s largest agribusiness firms. Following the close of the transaction, which is expected to take place in 2024, the combined company will operate as Bunge. The company’s headquarters will be in St. Louis, while Viterra’s current headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands, will be an important commercial location in the future of the combined company. Gregory Heckman, who will lead the combined company, said the merger “significantly accelerates Bunge’s strategy, building on our fundamental purpose to connect farmers to consumers to deliver essential food, feed and fuel to the world.”
Australian retail group Woolworths Group entered an agreement to acquire a majority (55%) stake in Petspiration Group, a pet specialty retailer, for $586 million. Petspiration offers more than 7,000 SKUs of premium pet food and accessories through its network of 276 retail locations, 65 vet clinics, 162 grooming salons, and e-commerce platforms. Under the acquisition, Petspiration will operate as a stand-alone business within Woolworths.
Wag! Group Co., an online platform that offers pet services, acquired Dog Food Advisor, a consumer-trusted dog food marketplace, in early 2023 for $9 million. The acquisition represented Wag’s entrance into the pet food market. The company plans to leverage Dog Food Advisor’s expansive consumer reach to become a partner in more personalized pet food offerings.
On Jan. 17, PetMed Express, Inc. shared its acquisition of PetCareRX, a pet medication, food and supplies retailer. The acquisition expanded PetMeds’ customer base and added about 100,000 wellness products to its current offerings. Following the acquisition, the companies will operate separately with PetMeds maintaining PetCareRx’s e-commerce platform, both being supported by a more efficient distribution network.
Pet Supplies Plus (PSP) expanded its reach throughout the Northeastern United States by acquiring 20 Loyal Companion Pet Stores from parent company Independent Pet Partners. The stores were split between PSP and Wag N’ Wash, which increased Wag N’ Wash’s store count to 24 throughout the entire United States.
On March 13, EarthWise Pet acquired six retail stores from Loyal Biscuit, allowing the retail franchise to serve more pet parents throughout Maine. According to the retailer, the pet food and supplies found at Loyal Biscuit stores will continue to be available.
The franchise expanded its footprint again later in March, acquiring 11 new stores from Kriser’s Natural Pet and See Spot Shop. The store acquisitions expand EarthWise’s total store count, which currently includes more than 200 locations throughout the United States. The retailer consolidated and converted the Kriser’s Natural Pet and See Spot Shop locations into EarthWise locations at the end of May.
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