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Oil-Dri Acquires Ultra Pet in Strategic Move to Compete in Growing Crystal Cat Litter Market

By Pet Age Staff//April 25, 2024//

Oil-Dri Acquires Ultra Pet in Strategic Move to Compete in Growing Crystal Cat Litter Market

By: Pet Age Staff//April 25, 2024//

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Oil-Dri Corporation of America, a leading manufacturer of sorbent minerals including clay-based cat litter, recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Ultra Pet Company, Inc., a prominent supplier of silica gel-based crystal cat litter.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oil-Dri will acquire Ultra Pet for $46 million in cash. Oil-Dri plans to finance this acquisition through a combination of cash-on-hand and its existing credit facilities. The board of directors of Oil-Dri and the managers of Ultra Pet’s parent company have unanimously approved the transaction which is expected to close in Oil-Dri’s fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024, after satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Oil-Dri expects this transaction to be immediately accretive to earnings following the completion of the transaction.

Ultra Pet, headquartered in Anderson, South Carolina, is a recognized innovator and pioneer within the alternative cat litter market with annual net sales of approximately $24 million. Ultra Pet introduced the original crystal cat litter, Litter Pearls, in the United States in 1998. Since then, Ultra Pet has expanded its product offerings and has an established presence in the crystal cat litter segment. Through multiple distribution channels such as e-commerce, pet specialty and grocery, Ultra Pet has grown its business significantly over the past several years.

Since 2019, the crystal cat litter segment has experienced tremendous sales growth of 500%¹. This pending acquisition provides Oil-Dri the opportunity to become a significant player in this rapidly growing space within the cat litter market. Ultra Pet’s line of branded and private label silica gel-based crystal cat litter offerings fit well with Oil-Dri’s pet care product portfolio. Similar to Oil-Dri’s clay-based lightweight branded and private label litter, Ultra Pet’s crystal litter products are lightweight with superior odor control. Crystals are 99.9 percent dust free and absorb up to 90% of their weight in liquid. All of these benefits align well with Oil-Dri’s strategic focus on growing the lightweight cat litter segment with both branded and premium private label high quality products sold at a fair price to consumers.

Daniel Jaffee, Oil-Dri’s president and chief executive officer (CEO), stated, “We are excited about this acquisition, as it will allow Oil-Dri to expand its distribution into the growing crystal litter segment. This strategic move further strengthens Oil-Dri’s position as one of the largest cat litter producers in North America and aligns perfectly with our mission to ‘Create Value from Sorbent Minerals.’ We look forward to welcoming the Ultra Pet team to the Oil-Dri family.”

Christopher Lamson, Oil-Dri’s Group VP of retail and wholesale, commented, “We plan to leverage our strong relationships within the grocery, mass merchandiser, and other growth channels to help increase sales of Ultra Pet’s unique crystal litter products. Our sales and marketing teams are eager to work alongside the Ultra Pet team to propel these value-added items into the marketplace. We expect this combination to create more availability of Ultra Pet products for the consumer and generate greater efficiencies for our retail customers.”

Richard Murbach, Ultra Pet’s CEO, added, “Joining Oil-Dri opens up incredible opportunities for our crystal cat litter products. Oil-Dri’s strong relationships within the industry, and its proven track record in product development, operational efficiency, and collaboration with customers will enhance Ultra Pet’s growth trajectory. Our products complement each other very well, and our combined strengths will allow us to grow the business and reach even more consumers and their feline companions.”


¹Based in part on data reported by NielsenIQ through its Scantrack Service for the Cat Litter Category in the 52-week period ended March 23, 2024, compared to the 52-week period ended March 30,2019, for the U.S. xAOC+Pet Supers market, and Stackline through its Atlas Service for the Category Litter Category in the 52-week period ended March 23, 2024, compared to the 13-week period ended March 30,2019. Copyright © 2024 NielsenIQ.