Greenwich-based private equity firm L Catterton has announced that it will sell Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, the maker of the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand of dog food and treats, to The J.M. Smucker Co. for $1.9 billion.
L Catterton invested in Ainsworth in 2014 and worked with the company to expand the retail distribution of the Nutrish product line through strategic partnerships with major retailers. The acquisition marks the second time in three years that Smucker purchased a pet food company; in 2015, the company paid $5.8 billion for Big Heart Pet Brands.
“Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is an excellent strategic fit for our company, as the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand adds another high-growth, on-trend brand to our pet food portfolio,” said Mark Smucker, CEO at Smucker. “Their team has done a tremendous job growing this business, building Nutrish into one of the most recognizable premium pet food brands in the United States. We look forward to working with the talented Ainsworth team, as we know their passion for pets runs as deep as ours.”
“Smucker’s decision to acquire Ainsworth Pet Nutrition validates the power of the Ainsworth company mission,” said Jeff Watters, president and CEO of Ainsworth. “At Ainsworth, our goal has been to improve the lives of pet families everywhere by making high quality pet food accessible to all pet parents. This single-minded focus has resonated with consumers and will continue to resonate under Smucker leadership.”
L Catterton’s current and previous investments in the pet products space include Inspired Pet Nutrition, JustFoodForDogs, Lily’s Kitchen, Nature’s Variety, PetVet Care Centers and Wellness Pet Food.