JW Childs to sell Hartz for $365m

The Boston firm has agreed to sell Hartz Mountain pet supplier to Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo.

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.