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(Reuters) - Phillips Pet Food & Supplies is in talks to sell the distribution company to potential buyers in a deal that could be worth nearly $600 million, three sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Founded in 1938, the family-owned and operated business has hired Harris Williams to seek buyers in a process that has recently kicked off, two of the sources said.
Phillips Pet Supply and Harris Williams could not be reached for comment.
The Easton, Pennsylvania-based company has about $60 million in annual earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization, one of the sources said, and is looking for a sale price of around 10 times annual earnings.
Phillips Pet's customers include pet stores, feed and farm stores, groomers, veterinarians and humane organizations across the United States.
The company has recently made a number of acquisitions, including competitor Royal Pet Supplies and other distributors, helping it to expand into the West Coast.
Total U.S. expenditure on pets has grown dramatically over the last few years to $55.3 billion in 2012 despite a slow economy, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Richard Chang