Private equity firm MidOcean Partners has invested an undisclosed amount in Freshpet, which makes the Freshpet Select, Deli Fresh, and Vital brands of dog and cat food. The new money will be used, in part, to expand the company’s retail distribution channels, as well as to expand marketing. MidOcean’s Richard Thompson will join as chief executive of FreshPet. MidOcean has offices in New York and London.
MidOcean Partners (“MidOcean”), a leading private equity firm, announced today that it has acquired a significant equity position in Freshpet, the leading manufacturer and marketer of fresh, refrigerated food for dogs and cats.
Founded in 2006, Freshpet produces a line of natural and nutritious food and treats for dogs and cats under the Freshpet Select, Deli Fresh, and Vital brands that are sold in over 5,000 locations within mass market and supermarket chains as well as pet specialty stores across North America. Freshpet’s strategic partner, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), continues as an investor in the business and important distribution partner.
A significant portion of the MidOcean investment capital will be used to drive Freshpet’s rapid growth and expansion, as it adds more retail distribution and increases its marketing initiatives. Concurrent with MidOcean’s investment, Richard Thompson, a MidOcean Management Affiliate, will become CEO of Freshpet and also invest alongside MidOcean in the transaction. Mr. Thompson has extensive experience in this category as the former CEO of The Meow Mix Company, which was sold to Del Monte Foods in 2006. He also was the founder and former CEO of American Italian Pasta Company. The MidOcean team also includes Management Affiliate Daryl Brewster, a former turnaround CEO of Krispy Kreme and longtime executive at Kraft Foods, who will become one of four MidOcean representatives on Freshpet’s board of directors.
“MidOcean has been evaluating the pet space for some time now, and we found Freshpet’s unique and leading position in the marketplace very compelling,” said David Basto, a MidOcean Managing Director. “We are very impressed with the entire Freshpet management team, all of whom worked with Richard at Meow Mix. We believe that Freshpet’s differentiated brand fits perfectly with MidOcean’s proven expertise in driving growth in strong consumer branded companies, and we look forward to working closely with Richard and his team in achieving our shared growth objectives.”
Richard Thompson, Freshpet’s new CEO, commented, “We are excited to have MidOcean join the Freshpet team as a value-added partner in assisting us to drive our growth strategy by introducing new products, expanding our retail distribution, and increasing our consumer marketing efforts. Our entire team is excited about the future prospects of our company, and look forward to introducing our fresh, natural, and delicious foods to millions more pet owners and their dogs and cats.”
Freshpet is a group of pet experts, nutritionists, and pet lovers dedicated to feeding pets the goodness of real, fresh food. Headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey, Freshpet is the only U.S. manufacturer and marketer of fresh, refrigerated food for dogs and cats. Freshpet brands include Freshpet® Select available at select grocery and mass market retailers, Deli Fresh® and Vital® available at select pet specialty stores, and Veterinary NutritionTM available at select veterinarians.
In addition to its line of fresh ready to eat meals, Freshpet makes the first fresh refrigerated treats. Freshpet was founded in 2006 with a mission to elevate pets lives through fresh healthy and nutritious foods. Freshpet has grown to employ over 80 people around the country since 2006 with each employee having ownership. Additional information about Freshpet® products, including a store locator, is available at www.freshpet.com.
About MidOcean Partners
MidOcean Partners is a premier private equity firm focused on the middle market. MidOcean is committed to investing in high quality companies with stable market positions and multiple opportunities for growth in the United States and Europe. Targeted sectors include consumer and leisure, media and communications, business and financial services and industrials. MidOcean utilizes a broad foundation of expertise in its focus industries and its transatlantic platform to create value for its investors and partners. For more information, visit www.midoceanpartners.com.