Iams Pet Food Sold to Makers of Pedigree & Whiskas

Mars, the purveyor of Snickers and M&M’s, expanded its pet food business on Wednesday with a deal to acquire Procter & Gamble’s pet food brands Iams, Eukanuba and Natura for $2.9 billion in cash.

“This acquisition is a perfect fit with our Mars Petcare vision of making ‘A Better World For Pets’,” said Mars Petcare Global President Todd Lachman in a statement today. “The deal reinforces our leadership in pet nutrition and veterinary science, attracts world class talent and grows our world leading portfolio.”

For Procter & Gamble’s part, President and CEO Alan Lafley is quoted as saying that exiting pet care is “an important step in our strategy to focus P&G’s portfolio on the core businesses where we can create the most value for consumers and shareowners.”

Procter & Gamble’s gradual exit from the pet food business represents a shift in strategy. As recently as 2010, the company continued to be active in adding pet-related businesses, buying organic pet food maker Natura Pet Products, which had annual revenue at the time of nearly $360 million.

Natura’s stable of organic brands included Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Mother Nature and Karma.

For McLean, Va.-based Mars, the deal adds to its existing roster of petcare brands that includes Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Banfield, Nutro, Sheba, Dreamies, Cesar, and Pet Hospital.

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