KANSAS CITY, MO. — Steady growth and the clear resiliency of the pet food and treat industry has many interested in investing in the pet nutrition space. With consumer trends continuing to evolve and processors meeting increased demand, this global $123.6 billion industry is expected to continue to grow, driving a flurry of mergers and acquisitions.
From July to December 2022, Pet Food Processing covered 35 mergers and acquisitions in the pet nutrition space. Continue reading for our recap on this M&A activity.
At the end of June, Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition entered an agreement to acquire F.L. Emmert, a supplier of animal nutrition solutions. The acquisition will support Wilbur-Ellis’ pet, livestock and aquaculture nutrition business segments and is anticipated to expand the company’s product offerings, R&D and customer base in pet food.
On June 30, Kojo Pet Performance, a manufacturer of plant- and cellular-based pet foods, was acquired by investment group Billy Goat Brands through a Letter of Intent (LOI). According to the LOI, Kojo is valued to be worth between $500,000 and $1 million. Billy Goat Brands acquired all securities of Kojo via a share exchange agreement.
England-based Assisi Pet Care acquired Pet Munchies Holdings at the beginning of July. Pet Munchies is one of the leading treat brands in the United Kingdom and has won multiple awards for its innovative treat products. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
FibreCycle, a subsidiary of KENT Pet Group, acquired Australian pet food manufacturer Lovitts on July 5. Lovitts’ gamut of products includes cat litter, birdseed, pet treats and other small animal nutrition products. The acquisition expands FibreCycle’s portfolio of small animal products.
On July 13, Nordic private equity Axcel acquired a natural pet food company: Voff Premium Pet Food. Voff offers premium products, including raw pet food, treats, chews and supplements, with a large presence in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Nordics. Although financial details on the acquisition were not disclosed, Voff boasts an estimated 1 billion SEK ($94.1 million USD) in revenue.
International consumer products group Tenacious Labs acquired Rover’s Wellness in August, marking its entrance into the pet care market. Rover’s Wellness specializes in hemp-based pet health products, including oils, freeze-dried chews and salves. The acquisition builds upon two other acquisitions by Tenacious Labs, which were focused on hemp-based health products for humans and animals.
New Zealand-based ZIWI LTD, owner of ZIWI Pets, acquired Freeze Dried Foods NZ (FDF) at the beginning of September. Founded in 1997, FDF operates more than 12,000 tonnes of freeze-drying capacity and is the largest freeze-drying operation in the Southern Hemisphere, according to ZIWI. The acquisition is expected to stoke growth for ZIWI Pets’ air-dried and freeze-dried pet nutrition products.
On Sept. 6, Voff Premium Pet Foods acquired Nova Dog Chews, a European manufacturer of dog chews, treats and snacks. With operations in the United Kingdom and France, Nova is expected to help expand Voff’s position in the United Kingdom and greater European pet markets.
Pet health and wellness brand Ark Naturals Company was acquired by Antelope, an omnichannel pet wellness platform. Under the acquisition, Ark Naturals, which offers various functional pet chews, has continued to operate under its own name. The company is Antelope’s fourth acquisition since its founding in 2021.
Little BigPaw, a manufacturer of wet and dry pet foods, was acquired by a group of sustainable direct-to-consumer pet care brands, Petbuddy Group. The acquisition expands PBG’s premium, natural pet food offering as it seeks to become a leader in the premium, sustainable pet food market throughout Europe.
Toward the end of September, Real Brands announced its acquisition of Boulder Botanical & Bioscience Laboratories, a manufacturer of CBD supplements and products. Boulder Botanical offers various pet wellness products, including bacon-flavored tinctures, dog treats and biscuits. The acquisition was valued at $12 million and included the manufacturer’s 27,000-square-foot facility.
On Oct. 13, United Petfood acquired Gold Line Feeds, a UK-based animal feed manufacturer. The acquisition includes Gold Line Feeds’ facility, which produces about 22,046 tons of dry pet food yearly. According to United Petfood, the acquisition will strengthen its position as a full-service manufacturer.
Ohio-based BrightPet Nutrition Group made its second transaction in two years, acquiring Bravo! Pet Foods. Founded in 2002, Bravo manufactures raw and freeze-dried pet food products, spanning treats, chews and supplements to complete-and-balanced diets and customized meal plans. The acquisition is expected to expand BrightPet’s capabilities.
In a striking move, Mars Petcare announced plans to acquire Champion Petfoods, a Canadian pet food manufacturer, at the beginning of November. The acquisition includes Champion’s well-known brands ORIJEN and ACANA, and will provide the company with expansion support from Mars. The acquisition is expected to officially close in the first half of 2023.
Swedencare AB acquired soft pet chew manufacturer Custom Vet Products Ltd (CVP) for $12.78 million. CVP’s products include high-quality pet chews and supplements for cats and dogs, targeting specific health concerns. Under Swedencare, CVP will be rebranded within the company’s existing animal health brands.
In November, Chasing Our Tails revealed its acquisition of K9 Candy Kitchen from the Trowe family. Among various pet nutrition products, K9 Candy Kitchen manufactures Himalayan-style chews, which have witnessed significant growth in consumer demand. The acquisition includes K9 Candy Kitchen’s facility in Minnesota.
At the beginning of July, Kent Corporation’s subsidiary Grain Processing Corporation acquired Natural Products, Inc. (NPI). Grinnell, Iowa-based NPI produces full fat soy ingredients from non-GMO and Certified Organic soybeans, as well as other pulse-based products such as chickpeas, which builds upon GPC’s existing line of ingredients.
Denmark-based Oterra detailed its acquisition of Akay Group, an Indian natural ingredients manufacturer, on July 5. Prior to the acquisition, Oterra formed a joint venture with Akay in 1995 to produce natural colors made from spices, and Akay later became a key supplier for Oterra. The acquisition marks Oterra’s fourth in 14 months.
The Middleby Corp. acquired a high-speed vacuum packaging manufacturer in July. Based in Wisconsin, CP Packaging specializes in packaging design and manufacturing, which further expands Middleby’s equipment capabilities.
In July Hillenbrand, Inc., signed a binding offer to acquire Linxis Group for about $583 million. The company acquired Linxis from Iberis International. In October, Hillenbrand completed the acquisition and Linxis joined its Coperion Food, Health and Nutrition division, complementing Coperion’s equipment and automation offerings.
On Aug. 30, specialty ingredients company Balchem Corporation revealed its acquisition of Bergstrom Nutrition. Based in Washington, Bergstrom manufacturers a high-quality brand of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is used in pet supplements. Bergstrom joined Balchem’s Human Nutrition and Health division and was integrated into its Minerals & Nutritions segment.
At the beginning of September, Royal DSM completed its acquisition of Prodap, an animal nutrition technology company. Through the acquisition, DSM will use artificial intelligence and Prodap’s tools to enable farmers to make smarter nutritional decisions, expanding upon DSM’s extensive animal nutrition expertise. DSM announced it had reached an agreement to acquire the company in June.
Due North acquired MTL COOL, further diversifying its product portfolio of refrigeration retail merchandising solutions. The acquisition will enable Due North to serve the constantly evolving retail markets within various industries. Through Due North, MTL COOL will offer its products, which include inline horizontal open-air coolers, sliding glass lid coolers and freezers, and vertical open-air coolers, among others.
Sensient Technologies Corp. acquired Istanbul-based Endemix Doğal Maddeler AS. With vertical integration, Endemix serves the food and beverage industries and uses extraction technologies to obtain colors in natural pigments from agricultural sources, advancing Sensient’s capabilities in natural colors.
On Oct. 6, Barentz International completed its acquisiton of Viachem, Ltd., expanding its product portfolio. Viachem is a supplier of specialty chemicals, food additives and ingredients. The acquisition represents “a market growth engine for Barentz and its principal suppliers,” according to Barentz.
Texas-based Darling ingredients moved to acquire collagen manufacturer Gelnex for $1.2 billion in cash in October. Gelnex operates five facilities, producing 46,000 tons of collagen annually for use in nutritional products. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.
PPC Flexible Packaging announced its acquisition of Plastic Packaging Technologies (PPT) in October. With the acquisition of PPT, PPC now operates 13 facilities throughout Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Utah, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio and South America. According to PPC, the acquisition furthers its position as a premier leader in flexible packaging manufacturing.
At the beginning of November, The Andersons purchased Bridge Agri Partners Inc., which specializes in transporting agricultural ingredients for the pet nutrition industry. Under the acquisition, Bridge Agri Partners will serve as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Andersons.
High pressure processing (HPP) provider Universal Pure was acquired by Aurora Capital Partners from Tilia Holdings on Nov. 1. Universal Pure operates eight facilities, totaling 1.1 million square feet of production space, and 20 HPP machines throughout the United States. The acquisition built upon Aurora’s assets, which total more than $4.5 billion.
MHS Global and Fortna merged to create a single entity — FORTNA, a provider of parcel, warehouse, distribution and lifecycle services, as well as optimization software. The companies originally announced their intent to merge in April 2022. Combined, the companies offer decades of experience in the development, design and delivery of omnichannel and parcel distribution, providing customers with an end-to-end solution to optimize distribution.
In mid-November, Darling entered an agreement to acquire Miropasz Group, a Polish rendering company, for $113 million, marking its fourth acquisition of the year. Miropasz processes poultry byproducts, developing fat and other ingredients for use in animal nutrition. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023.
ProMach revealed it acquired Ferlo, a manufacturer of automated product handling solutions, on Nov. 30. Ferlo offers retorts, autoclaves and pasteurizing tunnels for various food and beverage products. Through the acquisition, Ferlo will join ProMach’s Handling and Sterilizing segment.
Hillenbrand acquired Peerless Food Equipment, a commercial equipment and solutions provider, toward the end of the year. Peerless will join Hillenbrand’s Coperion Food, Health & Nutrition Division and expanding Coperion’s technical capabilities and offerings.
On Oct. 11, Tractor Supply Company detailed that it received FTC clearance to close on its acquisition of Orscheln Farm and Home. The acquisition, estimated to be worth $320 million, includes all 166 Orscheln stores, 81 of which Tractor Supply will retain and 85 of which the company will sell.
Seattle-based EarthWise Pet, a pet retail franchise, acquired 42 new franchise locations on Nov. 15, expanding its total store count to more than 170 locations. EarthWise Pet’s product offerings span natural nutrition and eco-friendly supplies and toys to grooming and daycare services.
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