Posted: Jan. 16, 2014, 1:10 p.m. EST
A private equity firm that purchased pet treat maker Zuke’s in 2010 has sold the company to Nestlé Purina PetCare Co.
Zuke’s, whose lineup of natural treats includes Hip Action for dogs and Natural Purrz for cats, reported Wednesday that it will operate independently under St. Louis-based Nestlé Purina.
"Zuke’s will continue creating and producing outdoors-inspired, safe and healthy dog and cat treats in the same facilities, in the same way, right here in the USA,” the Durango, Colo., company stated.
Patrick Meiering founded Zuke’s in 1995 and partnered with the San Francisco investment firm Encore Consumer Capital in 2010 with the goal of strengthening the treat manufacturer’s branding and strategy.
Zuke’s produces nearly a dozen types of dog treats, from Mini Naturals to Hip Action.
"I’m personally so pleased that Zuke’s is now a part of the Nestlé Purina family,” said Meiering, who will continue to serve in an advisory role. "Their understanding of Zuke’s core mission of fostering an active and healthy lifestyle for pets and pet parents alike, their commitment to keeping Zuke’s and its employees in Durango as an independent operation, and their ability to help grow the Zuke’s brand in the pet specialty marketplace were important factors in partnering with Nestlé Purina.”
A Nestlé Purina spokesman declined to comment on the transaction. The sale price was not announced.
Scott Sellers, Encore’s managing director, confirmed the sale to Nestlé Purina.
"While we will miss working with the incredible management team at Zuke’s, we are excited that Zuke’s will continue to offer the highest-quality pet treats under the stewardship of a trusted organization like Nestlé Purina PetCare,” Sellers said.
Zuke’s has always been a community-minded company, promoting outdoor activities for both people and pets, sponsoring events and raising money for causes such as the company-run Dog and Cat Cancer Fund
"I joined the Zuke’s team in 2010 with the goal of growing the Zuke’s brand while staying true to its authentic roots and history,” President John Hart said. "We achieved that goal and are excited to continue and accelerate that growth in pet specialty with our new partnership.”
Nestlé Purina PetCare, a subsidiary of Swiss-based multinational company Nestlé S.A., manufacturers many mass-market brands—from Beneful and Purina One dog foods to Friskies cat food and Tidy Cats litter.
The Zuke’s purchase nudges Nestlé Purina farther into the expanding U.S. market for natural pet products. The research firm Packaged Facts in late 2012 predicted
that the combined sales of natural pet foods and natural pet care products would grow by 10 to 15 percent annually from 2014 to 2017, ultimately reaching $9.4 billion.
Nestlé Purina entered the digital arena in 2013 with the purchase
of the pet adoption website Petfinder.com.
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