KANSAS CITY, MO. — While M&A activity in the pet nutrition space slowed in 2023 compared to recent years, there is still a strong appetite among companies seeking synergies, as well as private equity firms seeking ROI. The pet food category remains an attractive investment opportunity, as evidenced by the 27 mergers and acquisitions announced by pet food manufacturers, industry suppliers, retailers, distributors and even associations in the last six months of the year.
Read on for our recap of mergers and acquisitions in the pet nutrition industry from July to December 2023.
In a “multimillion-euro deal” in July, VAFO Group acquired the remaining 60% in Pooch & Mutt, a UK pet food company. VAFO first acquired a minority share in the company in 2020, increasing its share to 40% in 2022 before acquiring the remainder mid-last year.
Mars, Incorporated expanded its veterinary portfolio through its acquisition of SYNLAB Vet in August, folding the company into its Mars Science & Diagnostics division. The addition of SYNLAB Vet will bolster Mars Petcare’s full-service global veterinary diagnostic platform, which includes laboratories, point-of-care solutions, imaging and software.
Alphia Inc., which was established in 2020 through the merger of American Nutrition, Inc. and C.J. Foods Inc., was acquired by private equity PAI Partners from former private equity owner J.H. Whitney Capital Partners. PAI Partners has previously invested in Royal Canin and Diana Pet Food, among others.
Across the pond, Voff Premium Pet Food announced its acquisition of Carnibest, a Dutch manufacturer of raw dog and cat foods, in early October. According to Voff, Carnibest complements its existing portfolio in the natural, raw pet food segment.
Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, purchased UK-based Assisi Pet Care Group in mid-October for an undisclosed amount. Assisi operates two natural pet treat manufacturing facilities in Poland, and serves as a key platform for acquiring, integrating and growing pet food and treat companies in the European Union, according to Wind Point Partners.
General Mills entered the pet supplement category in early November with its acquisition of Fera Pets, Inc. The acquisition was announced in tandem with the creation of General Mills’ growth equity fund, which aims to acquire, scale and accelerate “strategically aligned businesses for future integration into the company’s core portfolio.”
Central Garden & Pet scooped up TDBBS, LLC, from Bregal Partners in November. According to Central Garden & Pet, the acquisition will expand its portfolio by adding bully and collagen sticks, bones and jerky pet treats, as well as strengthen its e-commerce and digital capabilities.
Omnichannel pet wellness platform Antelope purchased gently cooked pet food brand My Perfect Pet on Dec. 1. The decision was made based on My Perfect Pet’s dedication to product quality, natural ingredients and sustainability, strengths which Antelope will leverage to realize the brand’s “tremendous potential for growth,” according to Wendy Wen, founder and chief executive officer at Antelope.
Shortly after being acquired by private equity firm Wind Point Partners, Assisi Pet Care went on to acquire Burns Pet Nutrition, a Welsh manufacturer of dry and wet pet food products. Burns Pet Nutrition was founded in 1993 by John Burns, a veterinary surgeon, who aimed to solve common health problems in pets through nutrition.
Thrive Foods, a freeze-drying company in the food space, announced its acquisition of Canature on Dec. 5. Canature specializes in freeze-dried pet food, treats and ingredients under its NutriBites, UBite and Hoopla brands. According to Thrive Foods, the acquisition will provide it with a highly experienced technical team and access to a state-of-the-art facility near Vancouver.
Post Holdings completed its second acquisition in the pet nutrition category in early December, scooping up Perfection Pet Foods, LLC, in a deal valued at $235 million. The acquisition included all assets of Perfection Pet Foods, including two manufacturing facilities in Visalia, Calif. The transaction followed Post’s entrance into the category through its acquisition of several pet food brands formerly owned by The J.M. Smucker Co. in April.
In one of the last acquisitions to be announced in 2023, United Petfood shared it had scooped up the Netherlands-based De Haan Petfood to expand its capabilities in wet pet food formats. De Haan offers more than 60 years of experience in wet food production.
ADM acquired Prairie Pulse Inc. in mid-July, effectively doubling its pulse footprint in the Saskatchewan region. Prairie Pulse’s operations in Vanscoy include origination, 12,000 tonnes of bulk storage, cleaning, milling, sorting, sizing and bagging.
Around the same time, The Andersons announced its purchase of ACJ International LLC, as well as its subsidiaries. The move is set to bolster The Andersons’ ingredient, logistics and supply chain management for the pet food ingredient sector.
On the equipment side of the business, Duravant LLC shared plans to acquire PPM Technologies from private equity Stonehenge Partners for an undisclosed amount. Duravant noted the acquisition would enhance its portfolio with new products and technologies that complement its subsidiary Key Technology, a leader in sorting and food handling solutions.
Flexible packaging provider Coveris acquired D.K. Lamin, another flexible packaging manufacturer, in early August. D.K. Lamin’s expertise and portfolio “perfectly aligns” with Coveris’ existing packaging capabilities, according to Coveris. The acquisition is expected to help strengthen the company’s growth strategy in pet food.
HVAC supplier PremiStar scooped up Professional Pipe, LLC to expand its portfolio — including industrial process piping systems, insulation and millwright work — as well as its customer relationships. The move represented PremiStar’s 21st acquisition since 2019.
In early September, Hillenbrand Inc. completed its purchase of Schenck Process Food and Performance Materials (FPM) from Schenck Process Group for roughly $730 million. According to Hillenbrand, the acquisition advances its long-term growth strategy by increasing its scale in the food-end market, particularly within pet food.
ID Technology, a brand by ProMach, acquired Lofton Label & Packaging, a producer of labels and printed flexible packaging materials, in early October. According to ProMach, the acquisition will expand ID Technology’s labeling and coding capabilities, enabling it to help customers keep their packaging operations running at peak efficiency.
In November, SK Capital Partners, LP, completed its acquisition of J&K Ingredients, Inc. from former private equity owner CORE Industrial Partners. According to SK Capital Partners, J&K Ingredients fits well into the private equity’s ingredients segment. The firm will seek to amplify growth for J&K Ingredients and advance its core competencies in clean label, natural and organic products.
Just before the new year, Australia-based Ridley Corporation Limited and its subsidiaries entered into an agreement to acquire Oceania Meat Processors (OMP), adding frozen meat blocks to its pet food ingredient portfolio. According to Ridley, mechanically deboned frozen meat blocks are a crucial part of its growth strategy in the pet food sector.
Retailers, distributors and associations
Malaysian pet retailer Petico announced its acquisition of assets owned by Perromart, a Singapore-based pet food retailer, in late August. The acquisition marked Petico’s first foray into the pet food market in Singapore, and is expected to support the retailer’s expansion in Southeast Asia.
European pet retailer The Fressnapf Group | Maxi Zoo acquired Jumper Groep in mid-November in an effort to expand into the Dutch market. Jumper Groep is the second-largest specialty pet retailer in the Netherlands, according to Fressnapf, currently operating 47 branded stores, three franchise locations and 19 shop-in-shop platforms.
The American Pet Products Association announced late November it had acquired The Pet Summit, an online education and conferencing platform, to better serve its pet industry members. The mission of The Pet Summit is to bring pet industry stakeholders together to learn, network, share ideas, raise awareness and build community.
John A. Van Den Bosch Co. (VDB), a fifth-generation pet food distributor, was purchased by investment firm Rubelmann Capital in mid-December. VDB’s reputation within the pet food product industry makes it the perfect platform for Rubelmann’s capital allocation strategy, according to the firm.
Keep your finger on the pulse of M&A activity in the pet nutrition space here.