VMG Partners has acquired Waggin' Train LLC, a provider of branded all-natural, all-meat pet treats. No financial terms were disclosed. BMO Capital Markets served as exclusive financial advisor to VMG, and also as lead arranger for the senior debt financing. Churchill Financial and Babson Capital provided senior debt and mezzanine debt, respectively.
VMG Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in acquiring and building branded consumer products companies in the lower middle market, today announced the acquisition of Waggin' Train LLC, a rapidly growing marketer of premium, all-natural, all meat pet treats, marketed nationally under the Waggin' Train brand.
Founded by Chris and Gena Weinberg in 2000, Waggin' Train markets a full line of branded pet treats for dogs, including whole meat Chicken Tenders, all meat Freshies Dental Bones, liver-filled Meat Blast Porkhide Twists, and a variety of other high protein, low fat treats. The company has operations in
Jerry Peters, the CEO of Waggin' Train, took the reigns in early 2007 and assembled a team of seasoned consumer products professionals to grow and expand the Waggin' Train brand. Under Jerry's leadership, Waggin' Train has grown 50% in 2007. Waggin' Train's growth is attributable to the brand's unique positioning as a highly palatable, all-natural, all meat treat with an exceptional safety record. “Waggin' Train has earned the reputation of delivering the best dog treats on the market to retailers across the U.S. and we will continue this heritage. We greatly value our new partnership with VMG Partners and the ongoing involvement of Chris and Gena Weinberg and we look forward to harnessing our collective resources to continue to drive this incredible growth.”
Kara Cissell-Roell of VMG, said, “Waggin' Train appeals to America's growing population of dog lovers who indulge their canine “family member” with the best treats available. The brand potential of Waggin' Train is clear when you consider that over 95% of dog owners who have bought Waggin' Train treats are repeat purchasers of the product. This exceptional Waggin' Train management team is poised to execute on a number of exciting branding initiatives and new product introductions to expand distribution and brand awareness. We look forward to working with management to help Waggin' Train achieve its enormous brand potential.”
“VMG Partners continues to identify exceptional, high growth companies with seasoned management teams within targeted consumer industries. The pet sector in particular is experiencing explosive growth driven by key demographic trends,” said Mike Mauze of VMG Partners. “Our disciplined approach, relationships with management and founders and our unique branding support resources have allowed us to invest in over-performing, high-quality companies with substantial upside potential like Waggin' Train. Despite this relatively challenging private equity environment, VMG Partners is pleased to have completed three recent transactions and we look forward to utilizing the skills of our experienced team to build strong companies that will yield exceptional value for our investors.”
BMO Capital Markets acted as exclusive financial advisor to VMG Equity Partners and lead arranger for the senior debt financing. Churchill Financial and Babson Capital provided senior debt and mezzanine debt, respectively.
VMG Partners also recently completed its equity investment in Mighty Leaf, a manufacturer of a broad range of ultra-premium, artisan specialty tea blends from around the world distributed primarily through specialty retailers, high- end restaurants and premier hotels and resorts across North America. In addition, VMG Partners invested in Colorescience, a luxury mineral makeup brand known for its high-quality ingredients and large celebrity following that is sold solely through physicians' practices and medical spas.
About VMG Partners
VMG Partners is a private equity investment firm with an exclusive focus on acquiring highly branded consumer products companies in the lower middle market. The firm's defined set of attractive target industries include lifestyle, wellness, food/beverage, personal care, pet and leisure. The firm is led by a seasoned group of partners who have worked together over many years and whose complementary operating, marketing, and investing skills help to source proprietary transactions and enhance the value of the brands they acquire. The firm currently has $325 million of committed equity capital. VMG Partners is headquartered in San Francisco and Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.vmgequity.com .