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Nestlé to Acquire Waggin’ Train Dog Treat Company
Posted: September 10, 2010, 4:02 p.m., EDT

Nestlé to Acquire Waggin’ Train Dog Treat Company
Nestlé has inked an agreement to acquire Waggin’ Train, which makes chicken, duck and beef dog treats.
Nestlé of Vevey, Switzerland, reported today that it has agreed to acquire dog treat company Waggin’ Train LLC of Anderson, S.C., from private equity firm VMG Partners.
As part of the agreement, Waggin’ Train will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of St. Louis-based Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. and report to Terry Block, president of Nestlé Purina’s North American pet food division, according to a Nestlé Purina spokesman. Other details of the transaction, including the financial terms, were not disclosed.

Waggin’ Train manufactures dog treats and chews made from beef, chicken and duck. Within the pet care industry, the dog snack category has experienced higher than average growth, and Waggin’ Train has been the segment’s fastest growing leading brand with annual growth rates of around 30 percent over the last three years, according to Nestlé. Waggin’ Train posted about $200 million in sales for the 12 months ending June 2010, Nestlé reported.

“Importantly, this acquisition will fill a gap in our dog treat product portfolio, will provide a new growth platform and bring new customers to the Nestlé Purina business,” said Patrick McGinnis, CEO of Nestlé Purina PetCare Co.

VMG acquired Waggin’ Train in late 2007. Through the course of its ownership, VMG and the management team said they have focused on expanding brand awareness, developing and launching premium products and diversifying sales to a broader base of retail customers.

“Waggin’ Train’s management team, led by CEO Jerry Peters and COO Michelle Higdon, provided critical creative direction and daily operational expertise to support Waggin’ Train’s rapid expansion and brand growth,” said Kara Cissell-Roell, managing director of VMG Partners. “When the transaction is completed, Waggin’ Train will be extremely well-positioned to achieve its next level of growth as part of the larger strategic Nestlé Purina portfolio.”

The transaction has received U.S. regulatory approval and is expected to close later this month.

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