AlphaPet Ventures acquires leading UK pet food brand Arden Grange to accelerate its internationalization

AlphaPet Ventures acquires Arden Grange in UK and wins CVC as debt financing partner

Munich, 17. February 2022

AlphaPet Ventures, the leading technology-driven brand platform for premium pet food in Europe, has announced the acquisition of Arden Grange, a leading premium pet food brand in the United Kingdom. The takeover strengthens AlphaPet’s ambition to establish itself as a leading Pan-European player serving over 200 million healthy meals for pets in 2022.

AlphaPet Ventures GmbH stands for the digitalization of the pet market as well as the successful brand building and multi-channel distribution of premium pet food. AlphaPet’s brands include Wolfsblut, Wildes Land, Müllers Naturhof, PRIMUM and other premium pet food brands. The acquisition of the UK brand Arden Grange strengthens the AlphaPet brand portfolio with another premium brand and is a big step towards further internationalizing the AlphaPet platform.

Arden Grange is one of the leading UK brands in the premium dog food segment and pioneered the category as a species-appropriate dog food brand in the UK more than 25 years ago. Arden Grange enjoys great popularity, especially in England. Premium pet food consumers appreciate the high quality of the products, which is exactly what the Arden Grange brand stands for with its claim “nutrition without compromise”.

In addition to the existing equity investors capiton, Reimann Investors and Venture Stars, CVC is providing debt support for this and other acquisition financings of AlphaPet Ventures.

AlphaPet Ventures and Arden Grange are linked primarily by their focus on healthy pet food. While AlphaPet is strongly positioned in online sales and generates over 50% of its sales directly to end customers (D2C), Arden Grange shows a huge potential to increase its currently low share of D2C sales. Following the acquisition of Arden Grange, the brand will be further developed independently under the umbrella of AlphaPet Ventures, sales in the UK will be supplemented by AlphaPet’s digital expertise, and international sales of the brand in DACH will be expanded via AlphaPet’s subsidiary Premium Pet Products GmbH and its offline sales team.

With the acquisition, AlphaPet further strengthens its position as a leading digital premium pet food platform with strong multi-channel distribution and positions itself as a strong player in the European market with projected sales of over EUR 150m in 2022.

Marco Hierling, Founder and Managing Director of AlphaPet Ventures, on the acquisition: “Arden Grange is a strong and well-positioned premium brand for which we see great potential not only in the UK but also in DACH. Above all, we can make a good contribution to the further growth of the brand through our digital know-how, direct end-customer access as well as through our sales team in DACH with access to over 13,000 points of sale. With the acquisition of Arden Grange, we strengthen our position as the leading digital brand platform for premium pet food in Europe. We are building on the existing and long-standing supplier and customer relationships in the UK and look forward to expanding these further in the coming years.”

Wendy Stephens, founder of Arden Grange: “Together with my late husband, Graham, we founded the Arden Grange brand 25 years ago to counter the dog food offerings of the big manufacturers with a high-quality nutritional dog food. The claim of Arden Grange shows this clearly, ‘nutrition without compromise’, and we have always remained faithful to this. This has enabled us to build up a large and loyal group of customers in the UK and win them over to our brand.” Emma Stephens, daughter of Wendy Stephens and Director of Arden Grange, says: “The high quality and innovative recipes have enabled us to successfully establish the brand in the premium market and make it one of the most popular dog food brands in the UK. Through the team at AlphaPet, I see great potential in further building the brand, not only nationally but also internationally. I am convinced that together we can fully realise the potential of Arden Grange.”

Christoph Karbenk, Partner at capiton: “We support medium-sized companies in the implementation of their growth targets. We see great potential in the combination of AlphaPet, a digital and strong growing company, and the strong brand Arden Grange, which is excellently positioned in the UK. We are pleased to support AlphaPet’s long-term success and are happy to support already the second acquisition.”

“This takeover heralds a new era for AlphaPet in its mission to become a Pan-European player in the pet food market. AlphaPet is uniquely positioned to further expand and scale the Arden Grange brand throughout its over 13,000 retail locations in German-speaking countries. By harnessing its omni-channel sales approach, data-driven platform and consistent customer engagement, AlphaPet will be able to drive sales synergies for its existing line of brands across multiple countries, ” explains Jussof Breshna, Managing Director of Reimann Investors.

Stefan Pfannmöller, Founder of AlphaPet Ventures GmbH and Partner at Venture Stars: “Having accompanied AlphaPet with Venture Stars since its foundation, we are initiating the further internationalization of AlphaPet with already the second acquisition in the last two years. We are pleased to take this step together with our long-term equity partners and the renowned debt fund CVC. We will consistently carry out the further buy-and-build strategy together to establish our leading pan-European position as a digital brand platform.”

Overall, the companies intend to further advance their shared vision of establishing healthy, high-quality pet food in the European market.

AlphaPet was advised by Oppenheimer (Buy-side & Debt Advisory), Allen & Overy (Financing Legal), Ashfords (Legal), LutzAbel (Legal Germany), Deloitte (Financial and Tax), and Sonntag & Partner (Structure).

The acquisition is still subject to regulatory approval.

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About AlphaPet Ventures GmbH

AlphaPet is the leading tech driven brand platform for premium pet food in Europe with multi-channel distribution, digital brand building excellence, end-to-end tech platforms and strong knowledge on Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) business. Its expertise in digital brand building, multichannel distribution (D2C and B2B) and its platform services, which range from modern technology to business intelligence, digital marketing and logistics, has been built up over the past years. These competencies have been developed by combining consistent organic growth with a buy and build strategy, which has allowed AlphaPet to bring together under its umbrella an extensive know-how and strong brand portfolio that is steadily growing.

The mergers and acquisitions have shown the potential of combining a digital platform with leading brands. This strategy will continue to be driven forward in the coming years to further accelerate the transition to healthy and sustainable pet food in Europe as a leading and technology-driven brand platform. Together, AlphaPet’s subsidiaries are driving digitalisation and digital brand building in the pet market, with the vision of providing healthy food for every pet.

About Arden Grange

Arden Grange is a family run business situated outside of Brighton in the beautiful Sussex countryside. It was founded in 1996 by Graham and Wendy Stephens both renowned for their experience and expertise in the dog world, where they had been breeding and showing their highly acclaimed Ardenburg German Shepherds for many years. Their extensive knowledge and understanding of canine dietary requirements, combined with the desire to provide superior pet nutrition, led to the creation of the Arden Grange range of super premium pet food. The core philosophy of ‘nutrition without compromise’ is the foundation on which Arden Grange has been built. Over the years Arden Grange’s popularity and reputation have grown rapidly in the UK and the brand has established a very loyal customer group.

About capiton

capiton is an independent, owner-managed private equity company that manages a total fund volume of over € 1.4 billion. Currently, capiton AG has 18 medium-sized companies in its investment portfolio. capiton acts as an equity partner for management buy-outs and growth financing of established medium-sized companies.

About Reimann Investors

Reimann Investors is the family office and corporate holding of members of the Reimann entrepreneurial family, who sold their shares in the family business in the late 1990s. Reimann Investors focuses its investments on two areas: capital market investments and direct investments in Digital Commerce, FinTech, and SaaS.

About Venture Stars

Venture Stars is a Munich-based venture capital fund focused on early-stage investments in innovative, digital B2C and B2B business models. Venture Stars was founded by Martin Junker, Florian Calmbach and Stefan Pfannmöller. The team of entrepreneurs currently runs three funds, which typically invest between EUR 0.5-2.0m initially and up to EUR 5m in total per portfolio company. Venture Stars started as a company builder and therefore traditionally works very closely with the founders of its portfolio companies. Venture Stars’ support therefore also goes beyond the invested capital and includes know-how, networking and operational support on topics such as strategy, organisational development and financing.