US private-equity firm Arbor Investments has added another pet-food business to its portfolio – Carnivore Meat Company in Wisconsin.
Chicago-headquartered Arbor did not reveal the terms of the deal only to say it had made an “investment” in Carnivore, a producer of freeze-dried and frozen pet food, snacks and treats.
The private-equity business already owns Red Collar Pet Foods, formed in 2018 through the acquisition of the Exclusive Brands business of Mars Petcare. In 2019, Red Collar bought Hampshire Pet Products in Missouri.
The latest deal was struck through Arbor’s Fund V platform but the investor did not disclose whether it was a majority or minority stake when approached by Just Food.
Founded in 2012 by CEO Lanny Viegut, Carnivore’s branded products include Vital Essentials, Vital Cat, Ve Raw Bar and Nature’s Advantage sold into US and Canadian retailers, and 14 other international markets. The business also supplies private label and is engaged in contract manufacturing.
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“The freeze-dry sector is seeing meteoric growth as pet parents learn about the unrivalled benefits of a raw diet,” said Arbor partner Chris Tuffin. “The Carnivore team has developed distinctive products with a fanatical customer base. We look forward to bringing our resources and capital to help increase capacity and support the step-change acceleration in the company’s growth.”
Viegut and the management team will remain in place.
The CEO added: “Carnivore has been blessed with incredible growth and we see acceleration at an even faster rate in the future. This partnership will help us stay ahead of the ever-increasing demand for our 100% raw protein products.”
Arbor has been active through M&A in other areas in food. Last month, the investor acquired Canadian salsa-to-tofu maker Fontaine Santé Foods. During the summer, its US-based Crown Bakeries business snapped up peer Bagel Boy, adding to the deal for Michel’s Bakery.
Last year, Arbor acquired Steck Wholesale Foods, a manufacturer of muffins and biscuits.