Merrick Pet Care, Inc. to Acquire Castor & Pollux Natural PetWorks

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Aquisition of organic pet food business to advance Merrick in 'Super Premium' pet foods segment.


Merrick Pet Care, Inc. Acquires Castor & Pollux Natural PetWorks; Expands Further Into 'Super Premium' Pet Food Segment

AMARILLO, Texas, April 16, 2012 -- Merrick Pet Care, Inc. today signed an agreement to acquire Castor & Pollux Natural PetWorks, a privately held natural and organic pet food business based in Clackamas, Ore. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The acquisition of Castor & Pollux further advances Merrick's key growth strategies of expanding the company's branded portfolio in the attractive "super premium" pet food segment and allows for greater utilization of its manufacturing facilities located in Hereford, Texas. Castor & Pollux is best known as the creator of the ORGANIX® brand, the leading certified organic pet food in the United States.

"This acquisition is about building a new company that is even stronger than the sum of its parts," said Greg Shearson, chief executive officer for Merrick Pet Care, Inc. "Both Merrick and Castor & Pollux were built by passionate founders determined to provide optimal nutrition for pets. That remains our commitment today. Our Merrick pet food recipes are developed and made every day in our own facilities, enabling us to deliver superior nutritional quality and safety."

Retail sales of dog and cat food exceeded $19 billion in 2011 according to market research company Euromonitor International. The "super premium" and "natural/organic" segments within the overall pet food category are estimated at $6.2 billion and are growing at a faster rate than the rest of the category. Packaged Facts estimates 40 percent of dog-owning households purchase some type of natural/organic pet foods, treats or supplies.

"Even in this historically difficult economic environment, we see pet parents seeking higher quality and ingredient certainty in the food choices they are making for themselves and their pets," said Shearson. "And together, we can better meet the growing demand for the highest quality pet food." As a pioneer in natural and organic pet food, Castor & Pollux has a loyal and growing consumer base in the U.S. and internationally. Its primary product lines are ORGANIX®, the first food for dogs and cats to meet the USDA's National Organic Program requirements, and Natural Ultramix®, with no wheat, corn or soy, only natural chicken and real pieces of fruit and vegetables. Castor & Pollux also has a natural treat brand, GOOD BUDDY®, that offers pet treats and pet care supplies. The brands are sold at Petco, PetSmart, Whole Foods Market and other specialty retailers in the U.S., Canada and several international markets.

Merrick will continue Castor & Pollux's successful go-to-market approach but will consolidate operations at Merrick's facilities in northwest Texas. Merrick will continue to distribute its pet food brands nationally at independent pet specialty stores, including Petco, and online. "We're delighted to be joining Merrick Pet Care given their long term vision and company values," said Brian Connolly, co-founder of Castor & Pollux. "Merrick has been an innovator in the pet industry for decades and we look forward to an exciting future together."

Merrick Pet Care Inc. Founder Garth Merrick said, "The addition of the outstanding Castor & Pollux brands gives us a solid footing within the natural and organic space. Coupled with some exciting new plans we have to evolve the Merrick brands in the next few months, we are well positioned for growth of our entire Texas-based operation."

Along with Shearson, founders Connolly and Merrick remain board members and investors in the new Merrick Pet Care organization.

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