Apollo, Blue Point, A&M love cats and dogs; plus a conversation with Iron Path Capital

In July, Apollo unveiled a strategic minority investment in PetSmart, which is majority owned by BC Partners.

Good morning dealmakers, thank goodness it’s Friday!

It’s Obey Martin Manayiti here with the Wire.

Today we are capping off the week with a look at five PE-backed deals counting on your love of animals.

We’re also revisiting some marketing deals announced this week, one from Monroe Street and another from Dublin Clark 

And we’ll close out with highlights of an interview I did with Iron Path Capital co-founder and managing partner Scott Mraz regarding a carve-out deal.

Dog treats
During the covid pandemic, there was a boom in pet care, as the work from home experience inspired many households to adopt dogs and cats, writes my colleague Rafael Canton.

Spending on pets has continued to soar. Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022, up from $123.6 billion in 2021, according to the American Pet Products Association. The APPA predicts the amount will rise to $143.6 billion in 2023.

Over the last couple of months, PE Hub and PE Hub Europe have witnessed a slew of new deal announcements in the sector, and Rafael rounded five deals unveiled this summer.

Here’s one deal highlighted in the story:

In July, New York-based PE firm Apollo Management Group announced a strategic minority investment in Phoenix-based PetSmart.

The Apollo investment is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

“We are excited to be making this investment in PetSmart, an industry leader providing a wide breadth of products and services to pets and pet parents in communities across North America,” Apollo partner Salim Hirji said in a statement. “We look forward to working with and supporting the company’s management team and store associates as PetSmart embarks on its next phase of growth.”

Back in 2015, London-headquartered BC Partners led a group that acquired PetSmart for $8.3 billion in a public-to-private transaction.

We’ll have more on Apollo and BC backing PetSmart next week.

Here’s another deal from the roundup:

In June, Weaver Leather, backed by Cleveland-based Blue Point Capital Partners, bought Mount Hope, Ohio-headquartered dog products brand Rex Specs.

Also based in Mount Hope, Weaver was acquired by Blue Point in 2021 with plans to make add-on acquisitions. Rex Specs is Weaver’s second add-on acquisition, after Cleveland-based Ohio Travel Bags in 2022. Weaver specializes in hand-crafted products for horses and riders.

Let’s go marketing!  

We saw a pair of investments in the marketing sector this week.

First, Chicago-based Monroe Street Partners acquired a majority stake in Richmond, Virginia-based Brandito.

Founded in 2009, Brandito provides promotional product sourcing, customized e-commerce stores, warehousing and logistics and marketing services.

Also, Level Agency, which is backed by Dubin Clark, acquired San Francisco-based Becker Media, a marketing agency serving the education sector.

This year PE Hub has seen a steady stream of marketing deals. In April, we rounded up six PE-backed digital marketing deals.

Since then, a lot more deals have been announced and we will continue revisiting the space throughout the year.

Key ingredient
Earlier in the week, Iron Path Capital-backed PureTech Scientific carved out the glycolic acid business of The Chemours Company for $137 million.

Headquartered in Belle, West Virginia, PureTech Scientific produces a synthetic glycolic acid that is biodegradable and serves a component across a variety of applications, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products and electronics.

Glycolic acid exists in pineapples, sugar beets, cantaloupe, coffee beans, and many other plants and fruits but the concentration is too low to extract economically, according to the company.

PE Hub caught up with Iron Path co-founder and managing partner Scott Mraz, who said the firm sees a lot of growth opportunities.
“There is a broad universe of customers in the life science space, in the semiconductor space and specialty industrial space,” he said, citing examples from Fortune 500 companies, or companies working on innovation.

“We see an opportunity to expand the applications where this technology can bring customers a unique solution,” he said.

Organically, Mraz said there is an opportunity to accelerate growth by adding key technical and commercial people.

On the M&A side, there’s potential in adding “complementary technologies with similar end market applications that are additive to the technology portfolio that PureTech Scientific growth has.”

That’s it for me today.

MK Flynn will be back with the newsletter on Monday.

Have a nice weekend.