Dane Creek buys Tollden Farms

Canadian pet-focused merchant bank Dane Creek Capital Corp has acquired Kemptville, Ontario-based Tollden Farms, a raw pet food manufacturer.

Canadian pet-focused merchant bank Dane Creek Capital Corp has acquired Kemptville, Ontario-based Tollden Farms, a raw pet food manufacturer. No financial terms were disclosed


MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 26, 2020 /CNW/ – Dane Creek Capital Corporation (‘DCCC’ or ‘Dane Creek’) announces that together with other DCCC shareholders, it has acquired Tollden Farms Inc. (‘Tollden Farms’), a leading Canadian manufacturer of frozen raw pet food located in Kemptville, Ontario. The acquisition was made by United Raw Pet Foods Inc. (‘United Raw’), which is 70% owned by DCCC and 30% owned by other shareholders of DCCC.

The purchase price represents 1.1 times trailing twelve-month revenues. The acquisition was an all-cash transaction. No other terms were announced.

Tollden Farms was founded in 2002 by Annette and Kevin McAleer. Tollden Farms’ frozen raw pet food recipes use only human-grade meat and vegetables, and are available in three formats: meat and vegetable blends; meat and botanical blends; and a selection of ‘DIY’ meat and vegetable components for the growing number of pet owners looking to customize their pets’ diets. Ms. McAleer will stay on as head of Tollden Farms and will become a key member of the DCCC team.

‘We are delighted to make this announcement’ said Mark Warren, Chairman & CEO of DCCC. ‘Over the last several weeks we have witnessed a dramatic shift in consumer buying habits, many of which we believe will outlast the current health crisis being faced by Canadians. While we are not naive about the long-term impact on the overall Canadian economy, we also believe that the sudden and significant growth in the ‘stay at home economy’ witnessed recently will outlast the current economic turmoil and benefit the pet industry specifically. Pet ownership is central to that economy as people stay close to home and ‘nest’. Dogs and cats are family and as such play an important role in reducing overall stress in these tougher times. The Tollden Farms brand is loved and trusted by Canadian pet owners and as such is only set to grow further in this current environment’.

Tollden Farms represents United Raw’s fifth acquisition of a Canadian frozen raw pet food manufacturer, succeeding United Raw’s acquisitions of: Mountain Dog Enterprises Inc. in October, 2017 (Edmonton, AB); Pets 4 Life in January, 2018 (St. Thomas, ON); Naturawls Pet Products in April, 2018 (St. Thomas, ON); and Natural Chow Pet Food Corp., the maker of ‘Spring Meadows’ in June, 2018 (Saskatoon, SK). United Raw also acquired a minority stake in Pet Plate in 2018. Pet Plate is a leading direct-to-consumer brand of lightly cooked pet food based in the US. With the acquisition of Tollden Farms, United Raw has extended its leadership position as the largest family of raw pet food brands in Canada.

The Tollden Farms brand fits well within United Raw’s approach, which takes the view that pet owners who choose to feed raw tend to be loyal to the raw category rather than a specific raw brand. Many raw feeders regularly switch between brands to provide variety in proteins, vegetable content, and ingredient sources for their dogs and cats. With the addition of Tollden Farms, United Raw now offers ten brands both nationally and locally and United Raw brands can be found in most pet specialty retailers in Canada.

Over the past several years, freezer capacity in pet specialty retail stores has grown dramatically and many raw-focused retailers have reported record sales in the first quarter of 2020. Frozen fresh pet food has become the leading food category for many retailers, who are now looking for more brand, format, and price options to fill out their freezers. United Raw’s sales strategy focuses on supporting pet specialty retailers and its multi-brand portfolio provides a broad selection of options to choose from – a key tenet of United Raw’s ‘good, better, best’ model. United Raw believes that the fresh pet food category, which includes frozen raw and was dubbed ‘pet food’s disruptive fourth category’ by Peter Benedict at Baird Equity Research, is poised for accelerated growth.

‘We are excited to now be part of the Dane Creek team’ said Ms. McAleer. ‘My husband and I built this company around our passion for the health of companion animals and we are proud of the quality and care that goes into each and every batch of our food. United Raw shares our values and we believe this transaction is the best way for us to take Tollden Farms from a top regional raw pet food to a national leader’.

Tollden Farms foods can be found in pet specialty retailers in Ontario and parts of Quebec. Its protein range includes such exotic meats as kangaroo and boar, as well as an extensive selection of raw meaty bones – another fast-growing segment aimed at filling the ever-expanding freezer sections in pet specialty retailers. For more information, please visit www.tolldenfarms.ca.

Tollden Farm’s existing facility in Kemptville, ON will become United Raw’s fourth manufacturing hub within a national Canadian network of frozen fresh raw pet food producers located in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
‘Conventional wisdom would suggest that as we acquire these raw pet food manufacturers, we consolidate operations’ added Mr. Warren. ‘We have never taken that view as absolute and if anything, the current health crisis supports our model of maintaining smaller regional manufacturing facilities across the country which are capable of making two or more of our brands’.

About Dane Creek Capital Corp.
Dane Creek Capital Corp. is a privately held Canadian merchant banking venture dedicated to the pet industry. With over 30 years of experience in the pet industry and an extensive network of industry professionals, we offer valuable financial and management support to up-and-coming companies in the companion animal sector through selective, strategic investments. Our investment horizon is long-term taking into account current trends and changes in pet owner demographics with a current focus on opportunities in sustainable and raw pet food products, pet supplements and nutraceuticals, alternative models for veterinary care, pet insurance and biotechnology.
For more information visit www.danecreekcap.com.