JW Childs Associates, the Boston buyout firm, has agreed to sell pet supplies maker Hartz Mountain to Japanese trading group Sumitomo for $365 million (€301 million).
JW Childs originally purchased Secaucus, New Jersey-based Hartz from the Stern family back in 2000 for a reported $328 million, or more than seven times earnings before taxes and depreciation and amortization for the company. According to Bank Loan Report, an industry publication, JW Childs put up $98 million in equity, and completed the purchase with a $200 million syndicated loan and $75 million in senior debt. The transaction ended the Stern family’s 76 years of ownership and management of the pet supplier.
Sumitomo, the fourth-largest trading firm in the world, will retain Hartz head Robert Devine and his management team, according to a statement. The Japanese conglomerate plans to add to the company’s product line and expand into overseas markets.
The Hartz sale is the firm’s second exit of a pet products company in the last year. In July 2003, JW Childs successfully sold off Meow Mix, the largest dry cat-food maker in the US, to New York-based Cypress Group for approximately $430 million, more than double the price it paid when it purchased the company 18 months prior.