Arbor Closes Mars Deal, Launches Red Collar Pet

Arbor Investments has completed the acquisition of Mars Petcare’s US-based private label pet food products business (Exclusive Brands or EB).

The Exclusive Brands business manufactures private label pet food and treat products for national retail customers and includes five manufacturing facilities in South Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma (2) and California. With the Exclusive Brands acquisition now closed, the business has been re-launched as Red Collar Pet Foods with a headquarters in Franklin, TN (www.redcollarpet.com).

The senior management team of Red Collar is composed of CEO and President Chris Hamilton, COO Dan Baker, CFO and CIO Marc Simkin, and SVP of Sales and Product Development Brad Ball. Arbor Senior Operating Partner Tim Fallon will serve as the Chairman of Red Collar. “With the support of Arbor, our management team and over 400 former Mars associates are ecstatic to be in the market as Red Collar Pet Foods,” said Mr. Hamilton. “We’re committed to offering flawless service to our existing customers and look forward to building new relationships as we expand our customer base.”

“We’ve spent the last three months working closely with Mars and our new leadership team to efficiently separate the business so we could hit the ground running from day one of ownership,” said Arbor Partner Chris Harned. “The opportunities ahead are exciting and further reinforce Arbor’s enthusiasm to enter the dynamic and growing pet food industry.”

Arbor invests in the food, beverage and related industries. Typical targets will have annual revenues of up to $300 million and EBITDA from $5 million to $50 million. Since founding in 1999 the firm has acquired or invested in over 55 food and beverage companies in North America. In July 2016, Arbor closed its fourth equity fund, Arbor Investments IV LP, with $765 million of capital and its first subordinated debt fund, Arbor Debt Opportunities Fund I LP, with $125 million of capital. Arbor is based in Chicago (www.arborpic.com).

This transaction marks Arbor’s second acquisition via a corporate asset divestiture. “From our initial conversations, Mars Petcare has been a phenomenal partner to work with and I couldn’t be prouder of how our nimble team at Arbor executed throughout the complicated transaction,” said Arbor CEO Gregory Purcell. “In less than 100 days from signing, we successfully carved-out a top 15 U.S. pet food manufacturing company from a global food conglomerate.”

Mars Petcare is owned by Mars, Inc. which has been family-owned since 1911 and is the sixth largest privately held company in the United States. The business is comprised of more than 50 brands and provides nutrition and health services – it has the largest veterinary operations in North America – for dogs, cats, horses, fish and birds. Click HERE for the Mars Petcare website.

Kirkland & Ellis (www.kirkland.com) provided legal services to Arbor on this transaction.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | December 4, 2018

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