Arbor Investments (“Arbor”), a specialized private equity firm that focuses exclusively on investing in food, beverage and related industries is pleased to announce that its Fund IV portfolio company, Red Collar Pet Foods (“Red Collar” or the “Company”), has completed the sale of its dry kibble pet food manufacturing business to the Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE: CL, “Colgate”) to support the growth of its Hill’s Pet Nutrition business. The transferred business includes Red Collar’s three dry kibble manufacturing plants located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Clinton, Oklahoma and Washington Court House, Ohio, employees associated with the dry manufacturing business, as well as related finished goods and raw material inventories. Additionally, earlier this month, Red Collar completed the sale of certain real estate assets located in San Bernardino, California to an unrelated third party.
Post transaction, Red Collar will focus on continuing to operate and grow its world class treat manufacturing business out of Miami, Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri. Red Collar’s treats business provides private label and co-manufacturing services for leading retailers and pet brand owners. The Company’s headquarters will remain in Franklin, Tennessee.
Arbor established Red Collar Pet Foods in December 2018 after acquiring the private label pet food and treats manufacturing business from Mars Petcare. At the time of acquisition, the Company (formerly known as Exclusive Brands) was the 8th largest pet food manufacturer in North America with a 65-year history manufacturing pet food for retail partners. Subsequently, Red Collar acquired Hampshire Pet Products in February 2019, adding baked treats capabilities to the platform.
“We’re extremely proud of the transformation of Red Collar over the last three and half years,” said Arbor Senior Operating Partner, Tim Fallon. “Our team executed a highly complex carve-out from Mars, invested in new manufacturing capabilities and recruited a team of elite executives to support our vision and growth strategy. In addition to growing the legacy private label business, leadership expanded the Company’s presence into co-manufacturing for national pet food brands who trusted Red Collar to manufacture for them. The hard work and dedication of Red Collar associates to create such a high-quality dry manufacturing network attracted interest from several large consumer package goods companies in need of additional dry pet food capacity.”
The transferred manufacturing plants will be integrated into Colgate’s Hill’s Pet Nutrition business and global supply network to produce dry pet food for Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription Diet brands. The purchase agreement includes the transfer of the approximately 350 employees involved in the dry pet food operations.
Commenting on the sale of the dry pet food business, Red Collar CEO Jim Cohen said, “We’re pleased Colgate and Hill’s recognized that our high-quality dry pet food manufacturing plants and committed associates would be a great fit for their growing Hill’s Pet Nutrition business. Red Collar and Arbor are gratified to know that our dry pet food associates will be joining a world-class organization as we fully focus on continuing to grow our pet treat co-manufacturing business.”
Arbor co-founder and CEO Gregory Purcell concluded, “For many years, I had been searching for the right opportunity for Arbor to invest in the growing pet food category. The acquisition of Red Collar presented a dynamic opportunity to acquire gold plated manufacturing assets on a large scale, with optionality to either launch our own brand with our in-house experts or continue as the premium U.S. contract manufacturer. While both were viable options, we chose the latter, reinvested accordingly and ultimately were recognized and rewarded with a successful partial exit, while still retaining a highly attractive pet treats manufacturing business.”
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Red Collar Pet Foods, and Centerview Partners LLC served as financial advisor to Red Collar Pet Foods and Arbor Investments on the transaction