BY SANDY CHEBAT
Acquisitions and mergers are off to a strong start in the pet industry in 2016.
“[We’re] seeing a sort of rekin-
SOJOS TO WELLPET
dling of the high level of activity
in mergers and acquisitions that
we saw a few years ago,” said
Bob Vetere, president and CEO
of the American Pet Products As-
sociation in Greenwich, Conn.
In the nutrition category, Tewks-
EMERALD CHANGES HANDS
bury, Mass.-based WellPet LLC
acquired Sojos, the Minneapo-
lis-based maker and brand of
raw pet food and gourmet treats.
“I’m pleased that we are join-
ing with WellPet, a family-owned
company like ours, and a partner
who shares Sojos’ mission and
will provide new resources that
will help Sojos continue to grow
and serve more pets,” said Ward
Johnson, co-owner of Sojos. “Our
dream always has been to funda-
mentally change the way pet par-
ents feed their pets. With WellPet,
we believe Sojos is in an even bet-
ter position to make that dream a
reality. We always have admired
their organization and brands.”
Sojos joins Wellness, Old
Mother Hubbard, Eagle Pack
and Holistic Select in the Well-
Pet family of pet food and treat
brands. Its foods and treats will
continue to be made at Sojos’
own facilities in Minneapolis.
In the pet treats and chews sec-
tor, Emerald Pet Products, the
Walnut Creek, Calif., maker of
Smart n’ Tasty and Twizzies
brands, was acquired fully by
Glenn W. Novotny, Sr.
Novotny, Michael Levy and
Mark Witriol founded Emerald
Pet Products in 2009, and, as of
Jan. 2, Levy and Witriol are no
longer on the board of directors.
“We are committed to developing innovative, healthful new
treats, chews and products that
meet our high quality standards
for consumers and their pets,”
said Novotny, CEO of Emerald
The manufacturer said it remains dedicated to serving pet
specialty retailers. The complete
line of Emerald Pet treats and
chews will continue to be manufactured in America with U.S.
ingredients, and all team members remain with the company in
their existing roles.
TO W.F. YOUNG
W.F. Young Inc., the East Longmeadow, Mass., maker of Absorbine, has purchased the assets of
Designing Health Inc., the manufacturer and marketer of The
Missing Link brand of supplements for dogs, cats, birds, small
animals and horses.
“Selling The Missing Link
HARRIS FARMS TO MANNA
was a very difficult decision for
me,” said Joy Collett, former
owner. “It was my husband’s
heart and soul for so many years,
and reflected his deep personal
passion for all animals. The most
important factor in my decision
was finding a company that
would carry his vision forward.
The similarities between our two
companies, starting with the fact
that both were founded because
of a personal passion for animals,
plus a continued dedication to
providing the best possible prod-
ucts, made W.F. Young the right
choice to steward The Missing
Link in the future.”
“We are more than pleased to
have the opportunity to continue
the legacy that Dr. Collett created
with The Missing Link, and it’s a
perfect complement to our recent
acquisition of Pure Ocean Botan-
icals,” said Kenneth Oh, general
manager, pet division at W.F.
Young. “Both companies match
our existing philosophy and way
of doing business, namely, offer-
ing quality products intended to
enhance the lives of our pets.”
Also in animal nutrition, Manna Pro Products LLC of Chesterfield, Mo., acquired Harris
Farms LLC, a Nolensville, Tenn.,
company that designs and markets products under the Harris
Farms and Free Range names
for the poultry, farm and ranch
“We are proud to join Manna
Pro, a company that consistently
has proven its commitment to
providing the animal nutrition
and care industry with innovation and excellence,” said Paul
Slinkard, founder, president and
CEO of Harris Farms.
The acquisition creates numerous benefits for all parties as
the backyard chicken movement
grows in popularity and more
municipalities allow residents
to raise backyard chickens, said
Beth Rogers, Manna Pro’s vice
president of marketing.
“Harris Farms products complement current feed and supplement products sold by Manna
Pro,” she said. “With the addition
of Harris Farms, we are able to
offer advantageous cross-promotion opportunities. It also provides another way for Manna Pro
Acquisitions Off and Running
Several long-established companies are teaming up to better leverage their resources
and networks, as well as deliver enhanced product lines for pets.
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