INDUSTRY: Branded pet products
Friend Skoler invested in United Pet Group ("UPG") in July 1999 in partnership with TA Associates, an experienced global growth private equity firm. FSC's investment in UPG demonstrates how FSC can work alongside another private equity sponsor to assist management in executing its growth strategies. UPG was a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium branded pet products for dogs, cats, fish, birds and small animals. At the time of acquisition, UPG's brand names included Eight in One, Lazy Pet, Marineland, Perfecto, Aquarium Systems and Jungle Talk.
Working with TA Associates, FSC took an active role in identifying and recruiting UPG's new CEO. FSC also assisted management with facilities rationalization strategies and developing offshore sourcing capabilities that resulted in significant product cost savings. In addition, FSC played a key role in supporting management's acquisitions of Pets 'N People and Dingo Brand LLC, which added the the prominent Nature's Miracle and Dingo brand names to the UPG brand portfolio.
During FSC's ownership period, UPG's net sales increased 46% and EBITDA increased 83%. In July 2004, TA and FSC sold UPG to United Industries Corporation for $360 million. The sale generated cash returns of 2.8x invested capital for FSC and its investors during their five years of ownership, generating an internal rate of return of 22%.