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J.M. Smucker Scoops Up Pet Food Firm Ainsworth for $1.7B

April 5, 2018

2 Min Read
J.M. Smucker Scoops Up Pet Food Firm Ainsworth for $1.7B
A sign marking an Ainsworth Pet Nutrition facility in Meadville, PA. Image courtesy of Google Maps

Expanding its position in the pet food and snacks market, American food company J.M. Smucker announced plans Wednesday to acquire the manufacturer of pet brands like Rachel Ray Nutrish for Pets and Better Than! for $1.7 billion.

A company press release said Smucker intends to close its acquisition of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC by May 1, following regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

“Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is an excellent strategic fit for our company, as the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand adds another high-growth, on-trend brand to our pet food portfolio,” Matt Smucker, the firm’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Their team has done a tremendous job growing this business, building Nutrish into one of the most recognizable premium pet food brands in the United States.”

Anticipated to create some $800 million in net sales in the first year after the acquisition closes, the pet food maker holds a strong position in the premium pet food and snack category. J.M. Smucker noted that the Nutrish brand is “one of the fastest-growing brands in the premium dry dog food segment.”

The food company will take possession of Ainsworth’s headquarters and a manufacturing plant in Meadville, PA and another production facility in Frontenac, KS. Smucker said Ainsworth holds a smaller market share in premium cat food, but efforts to expand in that category will increase following the transaction.

“After five generations, our family, in partnership with L Catterton, made the decision to sell Ainsworth Pet Nutrition to the J.M. Smucker Company,” Ainsworth’s executive chairman Sean Lang said in the release. “We took great care to find the right home for our brands and our people, to whom we are so grateful. The J.M. Smucker Company, also a fifth-generation company, is led by a link-minded family to our own. We expect the combined horsepower of these pet care organizations to achieve great things.”

J.M. Smucker said in the same announcement that it plans to “explore strategic options,” including a divestment, for its baking business in the U.S.

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