Ridley buys animal nutrition maker WestFeeds from Northern Agri

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Ridley USA is buying WestFeeds LLC, an animal feeds and supplements distributor, from Lariat Partners’ Northern Agri Holdings LLC. Northern Agri’s divestiture of WestFeeds allows the seller to focus on its crop seeds business.

WestFeeds manufactures animal feed and nutritional products for cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, swine, goats and companion animals. The Billings, Montana-based target also distributes feed, mineral premixes and supplements from its three manufacturing facilities. Westfeeds also has five retail locations throughout Montana.

Ridley, based in Monkato, Minnesota, is an U.S. distributor of animal nutrition products. The buyer serves a range of customers, including producers of meat, milk, and eggs. Ridley’s clients consist of show feed customers to lifestyle farmers.

Northern Agri, a portfolio company of lower middle-market private equity firm Lariat Partners, is based in Great Falls, Montana. The seller’s remaining business segments include: Northern Seed, a seed distributor; and Northern Agri Brands, a segment that develops and markets forage crop seed genetics. Lariat Partners, based in Denver, Colorado, raised its debut fund in 2014 with $118 million in capital commitments. Integris Partners is serving as financial adviser to Northern Agri on the deal.

Buyers are betting on the expansion of pet-related M&A, as consumers, particularly pet owners, desire pet products that reflect the same standards that are used for human beings. Deals within the sector include: Mars Inc.’s agreement to buy animal hospital chain VCA; Olympus Partners’ completed purchase of Petmate Holdings Co. from Wind Point Partners; and the Worldwise merger with Quaker Pet Group in order to make more acquisitions. In 2016, Tractor Supply Co. (Nasdaq: TSCO) purchased pet food maker Petsense LLC, for which the company’s CEO Gregory Sandfort received Mergers & Acquisitions’ Dealmaker of the Year Award.

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