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Kinderhook Acquires Raw Frozen, Freeze-Dried Brand Primal Pet Foods


Press Release: Primal Pet Foods

Kinderhook Industries, LLC, recently announced the acquisition of Fairfield, California based Primal Pet Foods. With this acquisition, Kinderhook will bring together portfolio companies Primal Pet Foods and Prairie Dog Pet Products, a premium specialty manufacturer and marketer of freeze-dried, smoked and natural dog treats. This combination together with the Himalayan and Holistic Hound brands creates the newly formed Primal Pet Group (PPG). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

The new Primal Pet Group creates a world-class manufacturer of minimally processed diets, treats and supplements. Focused on the highest production standards of raw, freeze-dried, air-dried and dehydrated products, the PPG manufacturing presence spans across multiple facilities in California, Washington, Colorado and Texas. The formation of PPG will enable expanded output across manufactured product lines while increasing food safety and innovation. 

“We are incredibly excited to bring together Primal Pet Foods and Prairie Dog Pet Products under the Primal Pet Group umbrella,” said Tom Tuttle, managing director, Kinderhook. “Primal is well-positioned for growth with leading brands, an experienced management team and Kinderhook’s significant investment in an expanded state-of-the-art manufacturing footprint that creates the capacity to meet growing customer demand for minimally processed products. We look forward to partnering with management as they build capabilities and rapidly scale the business.” 

Timothy W. Simonds has been appointed as CEO to lead Primal Pet Group. Simonds brings accomplished pet industry experience having most recently served as CEO of Merrick Pet Care, where he demonstrated success growing revenue, scaling operations and improving profitability. His career spans more than 30 years including senior roles leading brand strategy and marketing for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, General Electric, United Airlines and Procter & Gamble Company. 

“Research proves that minimally processed diets using quality ingredients helps improve the health and well-being of our pets, and the market continues to demand more of these premium products,” said Simonds. “It is an exciting time to join Primal, as we bring together these trusted brands with a shared commitment to significantly improving the lives of pets. I look forward to working with our more than 500 team members and our distribution and retail partners as we grow and scale our business.” 

In addition to Simonds, the management team for Primal Pet Group brings a depth and breadth of experience across leading minimally processed pet brands and varied production processes that best retain the nutritional efficacy of superior ingredients. Travis Moore joins the company as chief operating officer and Matt Koss has been named chief product officer. Matt Pirz, chief strategy officer, and Jeff Camosci, chief revenue officer, will continue in their current roles. Moore brings proven expertise in efficiently expanding supply chain capability through successful large capital execution and implementing world class operational processes in a high growth environment. Most recently, Moore served as a Blue Buffalo supply chain engineering and operations leader, where he was responsible for expanding pet food and treat production capacity through capital investments while implementing operational systems and processes as Blue Buffalo grew sales and distribution. 

Koss founded Primal Pet Foods in 2001 with a purpose to provide a fresh food alternative to traditional pet food products. As president of Primal, Koss oversaw all aspects of the company, growing Primal into a leading manufacturer of raw frozen and freeze-dried foods for dogs and cats with global distribution in North America, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Korea. 

Mike Kelly has also been named to a newly created role as Primal Pet Group’s director of Research and Development and Technical Services. Kelly will be responsible for product and process innovation, where he brings more than 20 years of pet food experience working for BilJac. 

Founded in 2003, Kinderhook Industries, LLC is a private investment firm that manages over $3.3 billion of committed capital. It has made in excess of 275 investments and follow-on acquisitions since inception. Kinderhook’s investment philosophy is predicated on matching unique, growth-oriented investment opportunities with exceptional financial expertise and its proprietary network of operating partners. Its focus is on middle market businesses with defensible niche market positioning in the healthcare services, environmental/business services, and automotive/light manufacturing sectors. It has a track record of successfully and consistently building industry leaders.

Pet Group Primal Pet Group is a leading manufacturer of minimally processed diets, treats and supplements crafted to elevate the health and well-being of pets. The company offers a premium line of products that are manufactured across multiple facilities in California, Colorado, Texas and Washington, using production processes that best retain the natural nutrition of superior ingredients. Primal Pet Group’s portfolio of premium products, includes the Primal, Prairie Dog Pet Products, Himalayan and Holistic Hound brands. The company manufactures for private label customers and retailers, and also is available to purchase online or in thousands of retail stores across the country.

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