Firm merges Primal Pet Foods, Prairie Dog and others

With this acquisition, Kinderhook will bring together portfolio companies Primal Pet Foods and Prairie Dog Pet Products, a premium specialty manufacturer and marketer of freeze-dried, smoked and natural dog treats.

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Adapted from a press release:

Private investment firm Kinderhook Industries, LLC acquired Fairfield, California-based Primal Pet Foods, maker of raw, freeze-dried, air-dried and dehydrated products. With this acquisition, Kinderhook will bring together portfolio pet food companies Primal Pet Foods and Prairie Dog Pet Products, a premium specialty manufacturer and marketer of freeze-dried, smoked and natural dog treats. This combination together with the Himalayan and Holisitic Hound brands creates the newly formed Primal Pet Group (PPG). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The new Primal Pet Group manufactures minimally processed diets, treats and supplements. Focused on production of raw, freeze-dried, air-dried and dehydrated products, the PPG manufacturing presence spans across multiple facilities in California, Washington, Colorado and Texas. The formation of PPG will enable expanded output across manufactured product lines while increasing pet food safety and innovation.

“Primal is well-positioned for growth with leading brands, an experienced management team and Kinderhook’s significant investment in an expanded state-of-the-art manufacturing footprint that creates the capacity to meet growing customer demand for minimally processed products,” said Tom Tuttle, managing director for Kinderhook, in a press release. “We look forward to partnering with management as they build capabilities and rapidly scale the business.”

Pet food industry professional appointments

Timothy Simonds has been appointed as CEO to lead Primal Pet Group. Simonds brings accomplished pet industry experience having most recently served as CEO of Merrick Pet Care, where he grew revenue, scaled operations and improved profitability. His career spans more than 30 years including senior roles leading brand strategy and marketing for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, General Electric, United Airlines and Procter & Gamble Company.

“Research proves that minimally processed diets using quality ingredients helps improve the health and well-being of our pets, and the market continues to demand more of these premium products,” said Simonds. “It is an exciting time to join Primal, as we bring together these trusted brands with a shared commitment to significantly improving the lives of pets. I look forward to working with our more than 500 team members and our distribution and retail partners as we grow and scale our business.”

Travis Moore joins the company as chief operating officer and Matt Koss has been named chief product officer. Matt Pirz, chief strategy officer, and Jeff Camosci, chief revenue officer, will continue in their current roles.

Moore served as a Blue Buffalo supply chain engineering and operations leader, where he was responsible for expanding pet food and treat production capacity through capital investments while implementing operational systems and processes as Blue Buffalo grew sales and distribution.

Koss founded Primal Pet Foods in 2001 with a purpose to provide a fresh food alternative to traditional pet food products. As president of Primal, Koss oversaw all aspects of the company, growing Primal into a leading manufacturer of raw frozen and freeze-dried foods for dogs and cats with global distribution in North America, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Korea.

About Kinderhook Industries

Founded in 2003, Kinderhook Industries, LLC is a private investment firm that manages over $3.3 billion of committed capital. The firm has made more than 275 investments and follow-on acquisitions since inception. 

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