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Japanese Firm Agrees to Take Majority Stake in Hartz

Posted: May 17, 2011, 6:30 p.m., EDT

Japanese household goods and pet supplies company Unicharm reported in mid-May that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire a majority stake in Sumitomo Corp.’s U.S. pet care business, The Hartz Mountain Corp.

Unicharm and Sumitomo aim to grow the pet care business in the U.S. by combining Hartz’s brand power and existing market share with Unicharm’s technical capabilities, particularly its nonwoven fabric and absorbency technology. They also see international growth potential.

Unicharm has agreed to acquire 9,693,400 shares of Secaucus, N.J.-based Hartz, or 51 percent of the total outstanding stock held by Sumitomo, the companies reported.

The price of the stock transfer has not yet been decided. The transfer is expected to be concluded on Sept. 30.

Unicharm, which entered the pet care business in 1986, manufactures dog and cat food and toiletry products, such as pet wipes and training pads. Unicharm reported that it has long pursued new market development and business expansion opportunities, primarily in the small dog, overweight dog, senior dog and indoor dog categories.

Hartz manufactures a wide range of pet products, including flea and tick treatments, dog toys, house training pads, natural treats, pet shampoos and bird and small animal diets. Hartz products are offered in more than 100,000 U.S. and Canadian retail outlets, according to the company.


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