Mars Petcare US, Inc. ("Mars Petcare") and Arbor Investments (together with its affiliates, "Arbor") announced Sept. 13 that they have entered into an agreement under which Arbor will acquire Mars Petcare's U.S.-based Exclusive Brands (EB) business. The agreement includes the division of Mars Petcare that produces private label pet food products for a variety of U.S. customers through five manufacturing plants in Orangeburg, S.C.; Washington Court House, Ohio; Miami, Okla.; Clinton, Okla. and San Bernardino, Calif. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, and is subject to certain customary closing conditions and certain approvals, including, among others, customary regulatory approvals.

"Exiting the private label business in the U.S. allows Mars Petcare US to focus on growing its branded portfolio, including iconic favorites such as PEDIGREE, IAMS, GREENIES, and others," said Mark Johnson, regional president, Mars Petcare North America. "The private label business has played an important role for us over the past 12 years driving scale and growth. As our focus has evolved, this sale gives Arbor the opportunity to further develop this business in the vibrant petcare category."

Commenting on the transaction, Arbor Partner Chris Harned stated, "As investors in growth and innovation, we are thrilled to have been selected by Mars to partner with CEO Chris Hamilton and his team to lead EB into an exciting future. With an efficient and nationwide factory network, a loyal and experienced group of employees and a high-quality customer base, we look forward to playing an active role in the growing pet industry."

"Pet has been a priority for us," said Arbor Senior Operating Partner Tim Fallon. "As we look to leverage Chris Harned's successful prior investments in Meow Mix and Freshpet, EB provides us with a proven platform for both internal and acquisition-driven growth opportunities."

BofA Merrill Lynch is acting as financial advisor and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is acting as legal advisor to Mars, Incorporated. Kirkland & Ellis is acting as legal advisor for Arbor Investments.