San Francisco and New York – Swander Pace Capital, a leading private equity firm specializing in investments in consumer products companies, is selling Merrick Pet Care (“Merrick”), a natural and organic pet food leader, to Nestlé Purina PetCare. Terms were not disclosed. Other selling shareholders include founder Garth Merrick, Monitor Clipper Partners, and Highland Consumer Partners.
Since Swander Pace acquired the company in 2010, Merrick has grown into a flagship brand in the natural and organic pet food category, with three leading brands, Merrick, Castor & Pollux and Whole Earth Farms, which are sold through specialty pet, natural grocery, and mass channels. The sale marks Swander Pace Capital’s second major exit in the pet food category after the sale of Eagle Pack Pet Foods to WellPet LLC in 2007.
“Merrick has grown significantly in the past five years, and I’m pleased to see the company join the Nestlé Purina family,” said Corby Reese, Managing Director at Swander Pace Capital and Chairman at Merrick. “CEO, Greg Shearson, and the leadership team have worked tirelessly to make Merrick a true leader in the natural and organic pet food category, and this sale marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the company.”
“We take pride in working with family-owned entrepreneurial businesses, and our relationship with Garth Merrick has been tremendous,” said Andrew Richards, Managing Director at Swander Pace Capital. “For the past five years, Swander Pace has partnered with Garth to grow Merrick into the well-known, respected brand it is today, and we wish him and the rest of the Merrick team all the best on the road ahead.”
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Swander Pace Capital, while Credit Suisse served as financial advisor.
About Swander Pace Capital
Swander Pace Capital is a leading private equity firm specializing in investments in growth-oriented, middle-market consumer companies in North America and the United Kingdom. Since its inception in 1996, Swander Pace Capital has used its expertise in this industry to pursue a consistent strategy of acquiring or investing in consumer products companies with leading market positions in attractive, defensible niches. With staff in San Francisco, New Jersey, and Ontario (Toronto), Swander Pace Capital provides portfolio companies with a unique mix of financial and strategic consulting support to create long-term value. Swander Pace Capital has led successful private equity investments in consumer companies with total revenues in excess of $2.0 billion.
About Merrick Pet Care
Founded in 1988, Amarillo-based Merrick Pet Care, Inc. is a leader in natural and organic pet food. With a mission to create the most nutritious and wholesome food, Merrick cooks up nutritious real whole food meals for pets. All foods are made in the USA using only the freshest ingredients grown by local farmers and no ingredients from China. The company offers a wide variety of dry and wet foods, as well as treats, that are available nationally at independent pet specialty stores, Petco, and online via select retailers. In April 2012, Merrick acquired Castor & Pollux and its ORGANIX, Natural Ultramix, and Good Buddy food and treats for pets. These brands are available at PetSmart, Petco, natural grocery, and online via select retailers. For more information, visit www.merrrickpetcare.com or www.castorpolluxpet.com.