Private Equity Firm Invests in Leading Marketer and Manufacturer of Fresh Pet Food
– MidOcean Partners ("MidOcean"), a leading private equity firm, announced today that it has acquired a significant equity position in Freshpet, the leading manufacturer and marketer of fresh, refrigerated food for dogs and cats.
Founded in 2006, Freshpet produces a line of natural and nutritious food and treats for dogs and cats under the Freshpet Select, Deli Fresh, and Vital brands that are sold in over 5,000 locations within mass market and supermarket chains as well as pet speciality stores across North America. Freshpet's strategic partner, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), continues as an investor in the business and important distribution partner.
A significant portion of the MidOcean investment capital will be used to drive Freshpet's rapid growth and expansion, as it adds more retail distribution and increases its marketing initiatives. Concurrent with MidOcean's investment, Richard Thompson, a MidOcean Management Affiliate, will become CEO of Freshpet and also invest alongside MidOcean in the transaction. Mr. Thompson has extensive experience in this category as the former CEO of The Meow Mix Company, which was sold to Del Monte Foods in 2006. He also was the founder and former CEO of American Italian Pasta Company. The MidOcean team also includes Management Affiliate Daryl Brewster, a former turnaround CEO of Krispy Kreme and longtime executive at Kraft Foods, who will become one of four MidOcean representatives on Freshpet's board of directors.
"MidOcean has been evaluating the pet space for some time now, and we found Freshpet's unique and leading position in the marketplace very compelling," said David Basto, a MidOcean Managing Director. "We are very impressed with the entire Freshpet management team, all of whom worked with Richard at Meow Mix. We believe that Freshpet's differentiated brand fits perfectly with MidOcean's proven expertise in driving growth in strong consumer branded companies, and we look forward to working closely with Richard and his team in achieving our shared growth objectives."
Richard Thompson, Freshpet's new CEO, commented, "We are excited to have MidOcean join the Freshpet team as a value-added partner in assisting us to drive our growth strategy by introducing new products, expanding our retail distribution, and increasing our consumer marketing efforts. Our entire team is excited about the future prospects of our company, and look forward to introducing our fresh, natural, and delicious foods to millions more pet owners and their dogs and cats."