Management consultancy L.E.K. Consulting advised AUA Private Equity Partners on its recent acquisition of Westminster Pet Products.
McDermott Will & Emery LLP served as legal advisor to AUA Private Equity on the transaction, which closed on August 24, 2020. L.E.K. Consulting, alongside CohnReznick LLP and Lockton Companies, served as additional advisors on the deal.
L.E.K. Consulting’s mergers and acquisitions practice advises corporate and private equity clients on creating maximum value from acquisitions, combinations, and separations – combining data and financial analysis with deep industry knowledge. The firm’s M&A offerings cover target identification, due diligence, joint ventures/alliances, post-merger integration, and exit support.
“We welcome Westminster and its management and employees as the newest addition to our portfolio,” said David Benyaminy, a partner at AUA Private Equity. “Westminster’s product offering is well-positioned to further capitalize on its growing end markets including the attractive pet treats, chews, and supplies categories.”Founded in 1913, Westminster is a family-owned developer and marketer of pet treats, chews, supplies, and shoe care products. The firm operates out of a 240k square foot facility in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and caters to a robust blue-chip North American customer base. The company in 2018 sold off its South Carolina Elastics division, which manufactures fabrics for shoelaces, bungee cords, elastic masks, and military webbings, to Phenix Engineered Textiles.
The acquisition is AUA’s first in the pet industry, and was driven by attractive industry tailwinds and increasing consumer spending on pets – which are increasingly seen as “family.” Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a huge surge in pet adoptions, with the rates of fostering increasing by as much as 90% in some cities, according to the Humane Society of the Unites States.
AUA will work with Westminster’s existing management to continue growth via product development, increased channel penetration, and future add-on acquisitions.
“The pet industry has proven to be resilient throughout market cycles and also benefits from positive macro-economic trends including increased pet adoptions and spending by consumers. Westminster is well-positioned to continue to benefit from these positive trends and we are tremendously excited about our investment in Westminster and our partnership with its management team,” said Andy Unanue, managing partner at AUA.
AUA is based in New York and focuses on investments in lower mid-market firms in the consumer products and services sector. The private equity firm specializes in family-owned businesses, companies targeting the US Hispanic market, and companies bringing ethnic tastes and styles to the US market. Some of its portfolio companies include Water Lilies, a manufacturer of frozen Asian entrees and appetizers; Desi Natural Dahi, a marketer of Indian dairy products; and Tijuana Flats, a fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant.