Pet care M&A down 10.3% as of Q3 2020

Omnichannel pet food sales have become particularly crucial as more pet food shoppers have shifted online, and future acquisitions may involve brands that know how to please customers online.

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(image by Andrea Gantz)
(image by Andrea Gantz)

Mergers and acquisitions in the pet food industry slowed during the ongoing pandemic, which has killed 1,612,372 globally as of Dec. 15. By the end of the third quarter of calendar year 2020, merger and acquisition activity in the pet food sector had declined 10.3% compared to the same period in 2019, according to Capstone Headwaters report “Pet humanization accelerates through COVID-19.” However, the pet food industry’s decline paled in comparison to that of overall M&As at 40% in the same period, suggesting the pet sector continues to prove resilient to economic and social disruption. Private equity purchases made 51% of deals in the pet care sector during the first three quarters of 2020.

“We anticipate seeing more M&A transactions that will mimic the outcome of C.J. Foods purchase of American Nutrition,” Tom Elliott, managing director of Capstone Headwaters said in the report. “More specifically, the transaction created a national footprint and a single source for dry, baked, and extruded pet food. There are large private label producers with one or two manufacturing methods in-house. We expect to see M&A activity that creates one-stop shopping of a broader set of products in the treat as well as food space.”

3 characteristics pet food M&A buyers look for in pandemic

  • strong omnichannel sales capabilities,
  • health and safety-centric products,
  • brand recognition

Pet food sales online during pandemic

Omnichannel pet food sales have become particularly crucial as more pet food shoppers have shifted online, Elliott wrote, and future acquisitions may involve brands that know how to please customers online. As a corollary to the overall growth of pet food e-commerce, subscription services grew steadily during the pandemic, especially among millennials.

Pet food industry mergers and acquisitions in 2020

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic altered the character of mergers and acquisitions in the pet food industry as buyers may have looked for brands plugged into the new normal of e-commerce, remote work and social distancing. Dog, cat and other pet owners shifted buying channels rapidly as movement restrictions limited brick-and-mortar buying options, especially boosting internet sales. While pet food brands tended to withstand the pandemic’s economic fallout better than travel and food service industries, the pandemic disrupted and altered projections. Although the future remains difficult to forecast, these mergers and acquisitions occurred in the pet food industry this year among makers and suppliers.

1. United Petfood acquires Italian private label Effeffe

January 10, 2020

United Petfood, international dog and cat food producer, acquired Italian company Effeffe Petfood.


2. Iansa of Chile sells pet food business to Camil of Brazil

January 24, 2020

Empresas Iansa’s sale of its pet food business to Camil of Brazil represents 20% of Chile’s pet food consumption and strengthens Brazil’s position in Chile.


3. Whitebridge Pet Brands acquires Cardinal Pet Care

January 27, 2020

Whitebridge Pet Brands, a maker of natural and minimally processed pet foods, treats and complements, completed the acquisition of Cardinal Laboratories, Inc.


4. How C.J. Foods’ buy of American Nutrition boosts brands

February 28, 2020

C.J. Foods, superpremium pet food manufacturer, will benefit from a wide geographic footprint and massive production volume, once C.J. completes the acquisition of American Nutrition.


5. Tollden Farms raw pet food acquisition during pandemic

March 27, 2020

Increasing numbers of remote workers may create opportunities for dog, cat and other pet food companies, as pet owners spend more time at home with their animals.


6. Purina acquires UK natural pet food maker Lily’s Kitchen

April 1, 2020

Lily's Kitchen recently expanded into the Middle East and Asia and already has a growing presence in France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.


7. United Petfood acquired IAMS Netherlands pet food facility

April 13, 2020

The site currently manufactures the IAMS and EUKANUBA brands and will continue to do so. United Petfood merely is taking over the plant.


8. Aliments Mackenzie acquired Karnivor raw pet food brand

April 30, 2020

Aliments Alternatifs 2000 inc. and its registered brand Karnivor were founded in 1999 with the mission of providing animals with food adapted to their physiology and that aligns with their carnivorous nature.


9. United Petfood to acquire Netherlands-based Jonker Petfood

May 6, 2020

International pet food producer United Petfood signed a letter of intent for the acquisition of Jonker Petfood in Waalwijk, the Netherlands.


10. Barentz International enters pet food ingredient business

May 11, 2020

The company announces its acquisition of pet food ingredient supplier Chicago-based Ingredients Inc.


11. C.J. Foods, American Nutrition now named Alphia

June 9, 2020

Alphia has a portfolio of pet food and treats. The company has a national footprint of 10 locations across 6 states.


12. DSM acquires Biomin and Romer Labs with Erber Group

June 12, 2020

Austrian-based Erber Group offers DSM the opportunity to enter the mycotoxin risk management market.


13. Alphia blending legacies in merger during pandemic

June 23, 2020

The combination of C.J. Foods and American Nutrition into Alphia earlier this month also included LANI and Veracity Logistics.


14. Partner in Pet Food acquiring Doggy pet food company

July 7, 2020

Partner in Pet Food, based in Budapest, Hungary, announced the acquisition of Swedish pet food manufacturer Doggy and its brands Bozita, Bozita Robur and Doggy & Mjau from Lithuania-based investment company NDX Group.


15. Manna Pro Products acquires Doggie Dailies

August 17, 2020

Manna Pro Products acquires Doggie Dailies.


16. IK Investment Partners acquires Forthglade pet food

September 28, 2020

This is the first investment by IK’s newly established UK team. Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.


17. Vafo Group acquires Carry Petfood dog chew maker

October 2, 2020

Carry Petfood was established in 1992 as Weidaer Hundekauartikel, but changed its name in 2009.


18. Schenck to acquire Baker Perkins pet food equipment maker

October 19, 2020

Schenck Process Group has reached an agreement to acquire Baker Perkins, a global supplier of food processing equipment and aftermarket services for pet food and other markets.


19. Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods bought by investor group

October 26, 2020

Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods, a manufacturer of specialty super-premium dry dog and cat foods, announced today it has been purchased by 30-year pet food veteran Joey Herrick and is becoming an independent business once again.


20. Spectrum Brands acquires Armitage Pet Care in UK

October 28, 2020

Missouri, USA-based Spectrum Brands acquired Armitage Pet Care based in Nottingham, Great Britain, producer of brands Good Boy, Meowee!, Wildbird and Wafcol.


21. Agras acquires Cerere dry dog, cat food maker in Italy

November 5, 2020

With this operation Agras consolidates its presence in the dry segment, now overseeing the entire value chain from production to market with its flagship brand Schesir.


22. Carlyle Group acquires pet food maker Manna Pro Products

November 11, 2020

The Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in Manna Pro Products from investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Capital Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


23. H&H Group of Hong Kong acquires US-based Solid Gold Pet

November 18, 2020

Health & Happiness Group International Holdings (H&H Group) acquired St. Louis, Missouri, USA-based Solid Gold Pet for US$163 million.


24. Clearlake acquires WellPet dog and cat food, treats

November 18, 2020

Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. signed a definitive agreement to acquire WellPet, a maker of several pet food and treat brands.


25. J.M. Smucker selling Natural Balance brand to investors

December 4, 2020

The J.M. Smucker Co. announced Friday it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Natural Balance premium pet food business to Nexus Capital Management LP, in a cash transaction valued at approximately US$50 million.

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