| April 9
April 9 Freshpet LLC, maker of a healthy variety
of cat and dog food, has selected Goldman Sachs Group Inc
and Credit Suisse Group AG to lead an initial public
offering by the end of the year, two people familiar with the
matter said on Wednesday.
Freshpet's plans to go public come amid a wave of IPO and
mergers and acquisitions activity in the "premium pet food"
sector, driven by rising pet ownership and an increase in pet
Larger rival Blue Buffalo Co, for example, which is backed
by private equity firm Invus Group LLC, selected banks in March
for an IPO, people familiar with the matter told Reuters at the
And just earlier on Wednesday, privately held Mars announced
a $2.9 billion deal to acquire Procter & Gamble Co's pet
food business, which includes brands like Iams and Eukanuba.
Founded in 2006, Freshpet makes fresh, refrigerated food for
dogs and cats as an alternative to dry or canned food.
Freshpet's products, available at stores including Target Corp
and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, do not have
preservatives, fillers, corn or wheat.
Private equity firm MidOcean Partners made what it referred
to as a "significant investment" in Freshpet in 2011, joining
Tyson Foods Inc, which had been a strategic partner of
Freshpet since 2009.
The sources asked not to be identified because Freshpet's
IPO plans are confidential. MidOcean, Goldman Sachs and Credit
Suisse declined to comment. Freshpet and Tyson Foods did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
Freshpet's sales are expected to top $100 million this year
from just $500,000 in 2006, CEO Richard Thompson was cited as
saying in an interview with a local newspaper last month.
(Reporting by Olivia Oran and Greg Roumeliotis in New York;
Editing by Diane Craft)