KANSAS CITY, MO. — The pet industry is continually investing to stay ahead of the demand curve. While some companies are seeking funding to grow the business on their own terms, many are being scooped up by private equity firms or synergistic industry leaders looking for some kind of return on investment or long-term growth opportunity.
More than 1,800 lower- and middle-market transactions were made in 2021, accounting for acquisition deals valued between $5 million and $250 million, according to Carol Frank, managing director of BirdsEye Advisory Group, a pet industry-focused investment firm. The collective dollar value of these transactions topped $121.2 billion.
So far in 2022, Pet Food Processing has covered 35 mergers and acquisitions involving manufacturers and suppliers in the pet food and treat industry. Continue reading for our comprehensive recap of M&A activity in the pet nutrition space from January to June 2022.
Ahead of its rebrand in March, Manna Pro Products — now known as Compana Pet Brands — expanded its stake in the small animal health space on Jan. 4 through its acquisition of Oxbow Animal Health. The rebrand to Compana Pet Brands not long after included a new logo and tagline to better represent the company’s variety of companion animal brands.
Mars Pet Nutrition acquired Nom Nom Now in January, expanding into the fresh pet food category. Nom Nom Now will operate autonomously within Mars’ Royal Canin division, retaining its own brand strategies and positioning while leveraging synergies from Royal Canin brands.
On Jan. 31, Cranswick, a food producer based in the United Kingdom, marked its entrance into the pet food industry through its acquisition of Lincolnshire-based Grove Pet Foods. The company produces Vitalin and Alpha Feeds dry dog food brands and co-manufactures for several other brands.
Dane Creek Capital Corp. announced it had acquired a majority share in Wodema Industries Ltd., which produces two soft chew brands in Canada — Kettle Craft and Jay’s Soft & Chewy — on Feb. 1. The acquisition was facilitated through Dane Creek’s subsidiary United Raw Pet Foods Inc. and adds to its expanding portfolio of raw pet food, treat and retail offerings.
Global pet healthcare company Swedencare announced its acquisition of NaturVet, a US-based producer of therapeutic supplements for pets, for $400 million in cash and an issue-in-kind of $47.5 million shares. NaturVet manufactures several formats, including powders, liquids, chews and soft chews, at its facility in California.
Assisi Pet Care, a European natural pet food producer owned by Hardwood Private Equity, acquired Poland-based Maced Sp. Z.o.o. in February with funding help through Crescent Capital Group LP’s European Specialty Lending program. Maced produces natural beef and poultry treats and dried animal byproduct chews for dogs. The acquisition included a facility owned by Maced, offering growth potential for Assisi Pet Care.
On Feb. 17, AlphaPet Ventures announced its acquisition of Arden Grange, a premium pet food brand in the United Kingdom. The acquisition is expected to help AlphaPet establish itself as a leading player in the Pan-European pet food market. Arden Grange offers several food and treat formats and formulas for dogs and cats.
Voff Premium Pet Food shared its acquisition of Aristo Oy on Feb. 21, expanding its premium natural pet food portfolio and reach into the Nordic market. The addition complements Voff’s existing portfolio and follows the company’s acquisition of AniForte in December 2021.
Continuing a series of acquisitions, Worldwise, Inc. announced April 7 it had acquired Pet Factory, a pet chew, treat, toy and accessory manufacturer. The transaction marked Worldwise’s third acquisition over the previous four months.
Whitebridge Pet Brands and Agras Pet Foods completed their merger on April 11. Both companies are now owned by Belgian investment firm NXMH and will operate under the Whitebridge Pet Brands name. The company will continue to operate out of offices in St. Louis, Mo., and Genoa, Italy, and will now also produce several pet food brands at Agras’ dry pet food plant in Neive, Italy.
Real Pet Food announced its acquisition of People for Pets, startup and owner of supplement brand Nectar of the Dogs. The acquisition expands upon Real Pet Food’s existing brand portfolio, which includes Billy + Margot, Ivory Coat Companion Goods, Doctor B’s BARF, Trilogy, Farmers Market, Natures Goodness, Nature’s Gift, Fussy Cat and V.I.P Petfoods.
Digital pet health company Fuzzy announced its acquisition of Dandy, a personalized pet supplement brand, on May 5. Dandy will continue to develop personalized pet supplements while expanding its reach through Fuzzy’s platform.
Following a successful co-manufacturing partnership, Tuffy’s Treat Company, a subsidiary of KLN Family Brands, purchased Finley’s Barkery, a pet treat company dedicated to creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Finley’s is expected to benefit from Tuffy’s organizational infrastructure and established distribution channels.
Alpine Investors’ pet wellness platform, Antelope, shared its acquisition of Diggin’ Your Dog and Super Snouts, a CBD pet supplement and treat company, on June 7. The acquisition will provide the CBD pet product company with access to growth opportunities, product innovation and market expansion.
On Jan. 3, Oterra announced its acquisition of Food Ingredient Solutions, marking its first stateside acquisition. Oterra, formerly Chr. Hansen Natural Colors A/S, made the acquisition to strengthen its natural color business.
Benson Hill, Inc. announced its acquisition of ZFS Creston, LLC on Jan. 4 for approximately $102 million. The investment fulfilled the final step in Benson Hill’s ability to convert its proprietary soybeans into value-added soy protein ingredients for human food and pet food applications.
Unibloc Pump acquired Standard Pump, an industrial process pump provider, on Jan. 5 to expand its hygienic flow control portfolio. This followed Unibloc’s acquisition of Flotronic Pumps in September 2021.
On Jan. 7, Symrise announced its acquisition of Shaffelaarbos, a sustainable egg protein producer based in the Netherlands. The move is expected to expand Symrise’s pet food capabilities for sustainable proteins. In March, Symrise went on to combine its pet food ingredient businesses — including Shaffelaarbos — under a single brand: Symrise Pet Food.
Linxis Group announced its acquisition of Shaffer in January, which added horizontal mixing technology to its portfolio. Shaffer joined Diosna and VMI, two existing Linxis Group brands offering vertical and continuous mixing technologies. Linxis Group purchased Shaffer from baking equipment supplier Bundy Baking Solutions.
KPM Analytics, Inc. announced its acquisition of Bruins Instruments on Jan. 12, expanding its near-infrared reflectance (NIR) capabilities for food ingredients and finished products. The transaction will allow KPM Analytics consumers access to high-accuracy NIR analysis tools for rapid, reliable analysis of moisture, oil and fat content.
In the packaging space, Sealed Air announced its acquisition of Foxpak Flexible Ltd., a digitally printed flexible packaging provider, on Feb. 2. Foxpak joined the company under SEE Ventures, Sealed Air’s investment initiative, and will add decorated packaging capabilities to Seal Air’s portfolio.
Symrise entered into another acquisition agreement in February, this time with Shanghai-based Wing Pet Food. The acquisition was completed in July and is expected to diversify Symrise’s pet food portfolio and expand the company’s presence into the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region.
On March 7, Datacor, Inc. announced its acquisition of Format Solutions, a former Cargill brand. Through the acquisition, Datacor added recipe optimization, ingredient allocation and food formulation software solutions for the animal nutrition and pet food industries.
Two companies — Action Point Inc. and Signature Flexible Packaging, Inc. — acquired Techflex Packaging, LLC on March 9 to create a new combined company: DazPak Flexible Packaging. Techflex develops pouch converting packaging for the pet food, medical and human food industries. The combined companies established a fully integrated flexible packaging platform with DazPak.
Ÿnsect, a global insect processor based in France, shared its acquisition of Jord Producers on March 29, marking its first foray into the North American mealworm production and backyard chicken feed markets. Jord Producers is one of the largest producers of mealworms in the United States.
In early April, taste and nutrition company Kerry Group announced its acquisition of Natreon, a specialty ingredient manufacturer. Natreon was founded to produce Ayurvedic botanical ingredients for various industries and currently manufactures Sensoril, an Ashwagandha-based ingredient used in select Zesty Paws pet supplements.
Darling Ingredients officially completed its acquisition of Valley Proteins, Inc. on May 2 for $1.1 billion in cash. The deal included 18 rendering plants and used cooking oil facilities spanning the South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic areas of the United States.
That same day, Darling Ingredients entered into an agreement to acquire FASA Group, a Brazilian rendering company, for approximately R$2.8 billion ($560 million) in cash. FASA is one of Brazil’s largest independent renderers, processing more than 1.3 million tons yearly and operating 14 rendering plants.
In early June, Royal DSM announced it entered into a merger agreement with Fimenich, a Swiss fragrance and flavor company. DSM-Firmenich will have four business units — perfumery and beauty, food and beverage, health and nutrition, and animal nutrition — with combined sales of approximately €11.5 billion ($12.3 billion).
On June 2, Universal Pure Holdings, LLC announced its acquisition of Hydrofresh Ltd. from Keller Logistics Group, effectively expanding its high-pressure processing (HPP) and cold storage operations in the United States. The addition positions Universal Pure’s HPP and cold chain services within one trucking day of major food production areas across the country, which is expected to increase the quality and speed of service.
Marel completed its acquisition of Wenger Manufacturing on June 9, a deal first announced in late April and valued at $540 million. The acquisition marked Marel’s entrance into the pet nutrition industry and established pet food, aquaculture feed and plant-based proteins as its fourth business segment alongside poultry, meat and fish.
On June 13, ProMach announced its acquisition of Reepack, an Italian flexible packaging machinery manufacturer. The move established ProMach as a single-source supplier for automated protein packaging, adding vacuum chambers, thermoformers, tray sealers and flow wrappers to its portfolio.
Retailers and distributors
Pet Supplies Plus acquired Wag N’ Wash, a natural pet food, self-washing and grooming franchise, in late February. The companies will continue to operate under separate brands. At the time of the acquisition, Wag N’ Wash operated 15 retail locations across the United States.
Just a few days later, Pet Valu Holdings Ltd. announced its acquisition of Les Franchises Chico Inc. (Chico), a fellow Canadian pet specialty retailer. This marked Pet Valu’s entrance into the Québec pet market and expanded its store count to nearly 700 locations.
Hollywood Feed entered into an agreement to acquire PetPeople, an Ohio-based pet retailer, in early March. The acquisition would be the largest for Hollywood Feed to date, expanding its geographic presence, store count, employee base, and its natural and holistic product offerings.
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