Woodstream Switches Sponsors

Vestar has agreed to sell Woodstream, a maker and marketer of pest and animal control products, to Bansk Group.

Woodstream’s branded pest and animal control, electronic animal containment, and lawn and garden products, are sold under the Victor (mouse and rat traps), Terro (liquid ant bait), Dynatrap (flying insect traps), Safer (organic pest control), Havahart (live animal traps), Mosquito Magnet (carbon dioxide-based traps), Perky-Pet (bird feeders), and Zareba (electronic animal and hobby farming fencing) brands.

Woodstream’s products are sold at more than 100,000 brick-and-mortar retail locations, online, and to professional pest control providers throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other international markets. Woodstream, led by CEO Miguel Nistal, is headquartered 70 miles west of Philadelphia in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with manufacturing operations in Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and distribution facilities nationwide.

Vestar acquired Woodstream from Brockway Moran and CHS Capital in 2015. During Vestar’s term of ownership, the company improved its physical operations and e-commerce capabilities and acquired DynaTrap, a Milwaukee-based provider of branded indoor and outdoor flying insect traps, in November 2019.

“Woodstream has achieved double-digit growth in sales and has become a more strategic, consumer-driven organization over the last five years with Vestar’s support, but there’s still more to be done,” said Mr. Nistal. “Our strategy of investing behind product innovation has put the company on a strong growth trajectory, and I am grateful to the Woodstream management team, our board of directors and the Vestar partners for their dedication to the company. It’s an exciting time at Woodstream, and we look forward to our next chapter under Bansk’s ownership.”New York City-based Bansk is a private investment group founded by consumer products investor Bart Becht, the former CEO of Reckitt Benckiser from 1995 to 2011, and a former partner at JAB Holdings from 2012 to 2019. While with these two firms, Mr. Becht was active acquiring and managing a range of consumer brands including Boots Health Care, Peet’s Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain, Dr. Pepper, Panera Bread, Pret A Manger and Krispy Kreme. Today, Bansk invests in a range of public and private companies and has approximately $1.5 billion in assets under management.

“We view Woodstream as an attractive long term platform in the growing and on-trend pest and animal control category,” said Brian O’Connor, senior partner and chief investment officer at Bansk. “We look forward to working with Miguel and the management team to accelerate the investment behind the business to take advantage of the compelling market opportunity.”

“Miguel and his management team provided expert leadership that helped transform Woodstream from a disparate collection of assets into a strategic portfolio of branded pest and animal control solutions,” said Winston Song, a managing director at Vestar. “We believe Woodstream will continue to flourish under Miguel and the Bansk Group, and we wish them the best of luck.”

Vestar specializes in management buyouts and growth capital investments. The firm targets equity investments from $50 million to $150 million in middle-market companies with enterprise values ranging from $250 million to $1 billion. Sectors of interest include consumer, business and technology services, and healthcare. Since Vestar’s founding in 1988, the firm has completed more than 83 investments in companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of more than $50 billion. Vestar has offices in New York, Boston, and Denver.

Goldman Sachs and William Blair were the financial advisors to Woodstream and Vestar, while Bansk was advised by Credit Suisse. Ares Management provided committed financing to support the transaction.

The sale of Woodstream to Bansk is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

© 2020 Private Equity Professional | October 29, 2020

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