General Mills acquires pet food company for $8 billion

by Keith Nunes
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Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo markets its natural foods and treats for dogs and cats under the Blue brand.
 
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — General Mills, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. for $40 per share in cash for an enterprise value of approximately $8 billion. Blue Buffalo manufactures natural foods and treats for dogs and cats.

Blue Buffalo markets its products under the Blue brand. In its most recent year the company generated $1.3 billion in sales and $319 million in adjusted EBITDA, according to General Mills.

Jeff Harmening CEO and Chairman of General Mills
Jeffrey L. Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills

“The addition of Blue to our family of well-loved brands provides General Mills with the leading position in the large and growing wholesome natural pet food category and represents a significant milestone as we reshape our portfolio to drive additional growth and value creation for our shareholders,” said Jeffrey L. Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills. “We are competing more effectively in our existing categories by really listening to consumers and providing a variety of options that meet their needs.

“In pet food, as in human food, consumers are seeking more natural and premium products and we have tremendous respect for how attentive Blue Buffalo has been to the needs of their consumers, pet parents and pets, as they have built their brand.”

Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo rang up $250 million of net revenues in 2017.
 
General Mills said Blue is the No. 1 pet food brand in the pet specialty channel at approximately twice the size of the next largest brand. Blue Buffalo also rang up $250 million of net revenues in 2017 growing over 75% versus prior year through the e-commerce channel.

Once completed, the acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to General Mills’ sales growth and operating margin profile. It is expected to be neutral to earnings per share in fiscal 2019 and accretive in fiscal 2020.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. It is contingent on regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

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