Radio Systems Corp. Acquires Kurgo
Radio Systems Corp., maker of the PetSafe, Invisible Fence and SportDOG brands, has acquired Motivation Design, maker of Kurgo pet products. Based
in Salisbury, Mass., Kurgo has a portfolio of highly
functional and easy-to-use pet travel products.
“The acquisition of Kurgo will enable Radio Sys-
tems to expand our reach to customers seeking ad-
venture outside their home,” said Willie Wallace,
CEO of Radio Systems Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn. “Our
customers tend to focus on spending more quality
time with their pets, which includes bringing their
dog on outdoor adventures with them. The Kurgo
product portfolio helps to keep dogs safe during
outdoor excursions. This acquisition will enable us
to accelerate the expansion of our travel and access
category, which we began in 2017 with the acquisi-
tion of Solvit, and help us better serve our customers.
Popular Kurgo products include products for traveling in the car with dogs as well as products to make
outdoor excursions a success.
“We are excited about this new chapter for Kurgo
products,” said Gordie Spater, Kurgo’s co-founder.
“We take our work personally, and each product we
OUTWARD HOUND MAKES
create solves a real need to help more people enjoy
time outside their house engaged with their dog. We
are proud of the fact that our gear helps dogs to be a
central part of family adventures and outdoor trav-
el. With the expanded scale of Radio Systems Corp.,
Kurgo was represented in the transaction by Cas-
cadia Capital, an investment bank serving mid-
dle-market clients globally.
Hound, a portfolio company of J.W. Childs Associates, acquired Planet Dog.
Since 1997, Planet Dog
has been known as a leading made in USA and
socially responsible, val-ues-based company making products for dogs by
dog lovers, said company officials. The company’s line of Orbee durable toys, plush
and travel products further expands the Outward Hound portfolio, offering the best
branded products all from one vendor, the company added.
“We are excited to transition the Planet Dog brand and our socially responsible
Nielsen Buys Pet Specialty
mission to the Outward Hound team,” said Alex Fisher, founder and chief creative
officer of Westbrook, Maine-based Planet Dog. “They have the innovation, experi-
ence and financial resources to take our brand and mission of community, environ-
ment and people to the next level. We look forward to seeing their team get dogs
wagging their tails around the world using our products.”
“Planet Dog has created some of the most-well-known and innovative made in
USA products in the pet industry,” said Kyle Hansen, Outward Hound’s “chief woof
officer.” “Our new partnership strengthens our goal to become the leading vendor
in the dog toy category.”
This is the third acquisition for Outward Hound since being acquired by J. W.
Childs Associates in December 2017.
Measurement Business from Gf K
Nielsen has acquired GfK’s Pet Specialty Point-of-Sale (POS) business, an exclusive measurement service for the pet specialty channel in the U.S.
For the past seven years, Nielsen has expanded its resources to serve the needs of
the pet specialty channel. The new investment builds on the company’s momentum to
double its coverage of the pet specialty segment by adding neighborhood pet specialty
as well as veterinary clinics to its retail roster, said company officials.
For retailers and manufacturers, the acquisition will produce a more robust picture
of performance and competition across the retail landscape, inclusive of pet specialty
stores, grocery stores and mass merchandisers—from a single source. Nielsen’s clients
will benefit from harmonized category measurement, a deeper understanding of pet
owners’ consumer behavior and the ability to keep pace with the nationwide trends that
ignite in neighborhood pet stores, officials added.
PESTELL GROUP ACQUIRES BPV ENVIRONMENTAL
Pestell has acquired BPV Environmental through its Pestell Pet Products business
unit. BPV, founded in 2001 and headquartered in Byron Center, Mich., is a manufacturer of alternative, paper-based animal litter, small animal bedding, and lawn and
The combination of Pestell and BPV creates the opportunity to leverage both companies’ complementary products, brand portfolios, and distribution networks in the U.S.
and Canada, said company officials. BPV manufactures both private label and branded
pet care and lawn and garden products, selling its products through retailers, distributors and other manufacturers. BPV facilitates additional avenues of growth for Pestell,
with the company’s product portfolio now including paper-based cat and multicat litter,
small animal litter, small animal bedding, mulch and lawn patches, officials added.
Wind Point Partners acquired Pestell in June 2018 in partnership with Matt Miller, a
more than 20-year veteran of the pet and consumer industries. In cooperation with Miller
and the management of Pestell and BPV, Wind Point will seek to continue expanding
the Pestell platform through a combination of organic growth and complementary acquisitions like BPV.
“The merging of BPV and Pestell, with the support of Wind Point, will create a solid
HILL’S PET NUTRITION ENTERS PET TECH SPACE THROUGH ACQUISITION
foundation that will help accelerate our growth,” said Marty Phelan, co-owner of BPV.
“Through this process, we’ve built strong relationships with the Pestell and Wind Point
teams and are extremely confident they’ll be able to take BPV to the next phase of its
growth. I’m excited for the opportunities this transaction creates for our BPV team mem-
bers, customers and vendors.”
Antares Capital, BMO Sponsor Finance and PennantPark led the debt financing for
the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Pestell.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition has acquired the technology and related assets of the Vetrax
wearable sensor technology from its developer AgLogica Holdings (AGL).
Vetrax is a monitoring tool and information platform that incorporates technology and data-sharing capabilities with proprietary dog-behavior algorithms. For the
past three years, Hill’s and AGL had been in a strategic alliance to further develop
and optimize the technology working with select veterinary clinics across the U.S.
“Vetrax is already helping veterinarians and pet parents to provide enhanced
care for dogs with a variety of conditions,” said Jesper Nordengaard, vice president
and general manager at Hill’s Pet Nutrition in Topeka, Kan. “But this is just the beginning. We believe the technology has the potential to further transform veterinary
care for dogs and, in time, for cats too. This is the perfect conclusion to the exploratory work that we have done with AGL over the last few years.”
MANNA PRO PURCHASES RESPONSE PRODUCTS
Manna Pro in Chesterfield, Mo., has purchased Rocking S., dba as Response Products, the Stephenville, Texas-based maker of Cetyl M.
The acquisition includes the manufacture and marketing of Response Products’ proprietary hip and joint care nutraceuticals serving the equine and canine markets. Manna
Pro’s continued expansion with the move further enhances its leadership position in the premium care of products for horse and dog owners, said company officials.
Douglas Group in St. Louis conducted the negotiations and acted as the financial advisor to Rocking S.