Friend Skoler Announces Sale of United Pet Group Investment

 

SADDLE BROOK, NEW JERSEY, August 2, 2004 -- Friend Skoler & Co., L.L.C., a private equity firm that invests in leading companies in the smaller end of the middle market, announced today that it sold its shares in United Pet Group ("UPG") as part of the acquisition of UPG by United Industries Corporation on July 30th, 2004.  United Pet Group is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium pet supplies products for dogs, cats, fish, birds and small animals.  UPG's products are sold under a number of brand names, including Eight in One®, Nature's Miracle®, Dingo®, Lazy Pet®, Marineland®, Perfecto®, Aquarium Systems® and Jungle Talk®.

 

Friend Skoler invested in United Pet Group in partnership with TA Associates ("TA") and management in July, 1999.    During its ownership period, Friend Skoler worked closely with TA to recruit new senior management, develop offshore sourcing capabilities and complete the acquisitions of the Dingo and Nature's Miracle product lines.  The sale generated cash returns of 2.8x invested capital for Friend Skoler and its investors during their five years of ownership, generating an IRR of 23%.   

 

"UPG has established itself as a leading company in the pet supplies industry, with a strong portfolio of brands and outstanding senior management.  CEO John Heil and his team achieved strong organic revenue growth and successfully integrated two acquisitions, creating significant value for UPG's shareholders and customers," said Alexander A. Friend, a Managing Partner of Friend Skoler & Co.  "It has been a pleasure to work with the UPG senior management team and TA Associates."

 

 "As a market leader with differentiated products participating in a growing and attractive industry, UPG fit squarely with our investment criteria," said Steven F. Skoler, a Managing Partner of Friend Skoler & Co. "This investment provides an excellent example of how we can partner with management and another private equity firm to add value to our investments." 

 

UPG is the second successful investment by FSC's principals in the pet supplies industry, following the sale of Kenlin Pet Supply in 1996 for a 5.9x return.

 

About Friend Skoler & Co.

 

Founded in 1998, Friend Skoler & Co., L.L.C. is a private equity firm that invests in leading companies in the smaller end of the middle market in partnership with management.  FSC typically invests between $10 million and $40 million of equity per transaction and manages Friend Skoler Equity Investors, L.P., a private equity fund with $231 million of capital commitments.  A key element of the fund's strategy is to leverage the firm's extensive experience as investors in and operators of middle market companies.  Friend Skoler is headquartered in Saddle Brook, NJ.  For additional information, please visit www.friendskoler.com.

 

About United Pet Group

 

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, United Pet Group is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium pet supplies products for dogs, cats, fish, birds and small animals.  UPG's products are sold under a number of brand names, including Eight in One®, Nature's Miracle®, Dingo®, Lazy Pet®, Marineland®, Perfecto®, Aquarium Systems® and Jungle Talk®.  Since 1997, UPG has acquired eight companies in the pet food and supplies industry.  For additional information, please visit www.unitedpetgroup.com.

 

Contact:
Dean Bosacki
Friend Skoler & Co., L.L.C.
201-712-0075
dean@friendskoler.com