J M Smucker acquires Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in $1.9bn deal

By Pouyan Broukhim

Ohio-based foods manufacturer J M Smucker has announced that it has agreed to buy pet food company Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in a deal valued at $1.9bn.

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is the maker of the Rachael Ray Nutrish – a leading brand within the fast-growing pet foods market.

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“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,” said Mark Smucker, Chief Executive Officer. “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.”

The transaction will consist of a $1.7bn fee that will be funded with debt, alongside an estimated $200mn in tax benefit.

“Smucker's decision to acquire Ainsworth Pet Nutrition validates the power of the Ainsworth company mission,” said Jeff Watters, President & CEO of Ainsworth.  “At Ainsworth, our goal has been to improve the lives of pet families everywhere by making high quality pet food accessible to all pet parents. This single-minded focus has resonated with consumers and will continue to resonate under Smucker leadership.”

This deal follows General Mills purchase of Blue Buffalo Pet Products for $8bn in late February, as processed food makers continue to move into the pet foods industry, with the market currently valued at $30bn in the US and growing.

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