30 June 2009

Catterton Sells Wellness Pet Food in $400 Million Deal

Found this while looking at Pet Product News

Catterton Partners, a private equity firm based in Greenwich, Conn., has sold its investment in Old Mother Hubbard Inc./Wellness Pet Food of Tewksbury, Mass., in a reported $400 million deal.

Various financial publications have reported Berwind Corp., a family-owned investment management company based in Philadelphia, acquired the company from Catterton and the Scott family, which bought the pet food maker in 1961 and later recapitalized under Catterton. Berwind does not currently plan to respond to requests to confirm the deal.

Berwind’s strategy, however, is to pay cash for 100 percent ownership of its portfolio companies. It implements a buy-and-hold strategy, targeting companies with high gross margins. It has stated in plans to invest $1 billion over the next three years on platform companies and bolt-on acquisitions.

Berwind currently considers Eagle Pack Pet Food of Mishawaka, Ind., which it acquired last October, as one of its platform companies.

Deborah Ellinger, former chief executive officer of Old Mother Hubbard, is no longer with the company.

TheDeal.com reported that Catterton had hired Lehman Brothers Inc. to sell Old Mother Hubbard/Wellness last year, but that the auction was scrapped amid pet food recall concerns. Catterton, which reportedly invested $45 million in the company, maintains an investment in Nature’s Variety of Lincoln, Neb.

Old Mother Hubbard has annual estimated revenues of about $150 million, FactSet Flashwire reported.

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