Free pet food for all in need?

On Wednesday Nestlé Purina Petcare Company, the US-based pet food division of Swiss nutrition health and wellness group Nestlé, announced that it has signed an agreement to buy Petfinder.

Petfinder is the largest pet adoption website operator in the US, Canada and Mexico, and includes a directory of over 13,000 animal shelters across the three countries. Petfinder’s current owner, Discovery Communications, bought the company along with Petsincredible.com back in November 2006 with the idea of integrating both businesses into Animal Planet Media Enterprises, which was a new business set up by Discovery to offer a full service multi-media resource for both animal lovers and pet owners.

The pet market is now big business - pet ownership is continuing to grow not just in the US but elsewhere, and Euromonitor International predicts that by 2017 the total population of pets in the US will reach 412 million. Additionally, Euromonitor reports that US pet owners spent around USD 38 per pet on animal products last year, significantly more than Western European owners.

This acquisition makes perfect sense to an outsider; Nestlé Purina produces a wide range of pet food and products across varying budget ranges, and have a number of animal welfare projects already in existence, so this acquisition will fit very nicely with their strategic vision in terms of aligning animals in need with the expertise and knowledge of pet welfare that Purina offers.

If the dogs and cats in those 13,000 shelters hear about this deal, then there may well be much more enthusiasm for chow time!

Filed under: M&A, online, pets, food