Bone appétit: 5 PE-backed deals counting on your love of animals

Apollo, Blue Point and A&M are a few of the firms capitalizing on rising ownership and care of pets.

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.

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.

As we wrap up the dog days of summer in August, let’s take a look at a compilation of pet-related deals that were announced in June and July, listed in reverse chronological order:

1. Apollo makes minority investment in BC Partners-backed PetSmart

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 in  for $8.3 billion in a public-to-private transaction.

PE Hub has been talking to the dealmakers about PetSmart, and we’ll have more to share next week. Stay tuned.

2. Trilantic Europe agrees to sell Dietopack to Dentressangle Capital

Also in July, Trilantic Europe reached an agreement to sell Modena, Italy-based manufacturer of nutraceutical and pet nutritional products Dietopack to Dentressangle Capital.

Dentressangle is a family-run investment holding company in France and Europe. It has offices in Paris, Lyon, Munich and Luxembourg.

Headquartered in London, Trilantic Europe first invested in Dietopack in July of 2020.

“After three years, we are pleased to confirm that our investment has proven highly successful, with 16 percent revenue growth per annum, demonstrating the strength of our partnership with Cecilia Cavazzuti,” said Giacinto d’Onofrio, partner at Trilantic Europe, referring to the CEO of Dietopack.

3. Blue Point-backed Weaver Leather acquires Rex Specs

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.

Weaver and Rex Specs “share a passion for high-quality, premium product offerings and are in a strong position to drive strategic expansion and growth in the years ahead,” said Blue Point Partner Charley Geiger in a statement.

4. Topspin Consumer Partners acquires Three Dog Bakery’s consumer products unit

Also in June, Mamaroneck, New York-based Topspin Consumer Partners acquired the consumer products unit of Kansas City, Missouri-headquartered Three Dog Bakery.

The creator of humanized dog treats, Three Dog Bakery sells its products via traditional and online retail.

“We see enormous opportunity in the pet consumables sector, and are excited to partner with Three Dog Bakery, whose innovative products have generated an avid consumer following,” said Leigh Randall, managing partner at Topspin in a statement.

5. A&M Capital’s BrightPet buys Raw Advantage

In another June-announced deal, A&M Capital Partners-backed BrightPet acquired Salem, Oregon-based Raw Advantage, a family-owned co-manufacturer of freeze-dried and frozen raw pet food and treats.

Based in Lisbon, Ohio, BrightPet makes pet foods, treats and care products. Based in Greenwich, Connecticut, A&M acquired a majority interest in BrightPet in 2020.

“We believe BrightPet’s acquisition of Raw Advantage aligns well with our investment thesis, focusing on accretive acquisitions in high-growth product categories,” Ryan McCarthy, partner at A&M Capital, said in a statement. “We believe the shared dedication to premium offerings, geographic synergies and expanded production capabilities makes this a compelling strategic move that will deliver significant upside for both BrightPet and Raw Advantage customers.”

We expect more pet-related investments in the months ahead.