AXA, Triton sell Tetra for $551m

AXA Private Equity and the German LBO fund Triton have sold pet food maker Tetra to battery maker Rayovac for $551m, more than double what the firms paid for the company three years ago.

Atlanta, Georgia-based Battery maker Rayovac has purchased Tetra Holding GmbH from German-based LBO fund Triton and global private equity firm AXA for $551 million (€415 million).

Tetra, headquartered in Melle, Germany, has around 700 employees and a presence in more than 90 countries, including Germany, the US, Japan and the UK. It manufactures and sells a line of pet food and aquarium equipment for fish and reptiles.

Triton purchased Tetra from pharmaceutical company Pfizer in late 2002 for $238.5 million, selling off a 22 percent stake to AXA a few months later. Pfizer sold the business as a restructuring effort to divest itself of businesses acquired in the 2000 Warner Lambert acquisition.

Rayovac said in a statement that the move illustrates its desire to diversify into the pet supply business.

The Tetra acquisition represents Rayovac’s second pet-related purchase from a private equity firm this year. In January, Rayovac bought Thomas H. Lee portfolio company United Industries, a pet supply, insect repellant and lawn care firm, for $1.2 billion. The Boston-based private equity firm, which owned 83 percent of United, intended to keep a 25 percent interest in the company.

Thomas H. Lee bought Rayovac in a leveraged buyout in 1996 and the battery maker went public in November of 1997.