Global giant acquires Edmonton's Champion Petfoods

· The Pulse

The acquisition of Champion Petfoods by Mars Petcare will accelerate the company's international growth, says the director of trade for Edmonton Global.

Manisha Arora said Champion Petfoods has been "a long-time leader in agriculture and expanding to global markets," and the acquisition announced on Nov. 1 is a great sign for the region.

"We are thrilled that the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is being noticed for its capabilities and international companies are leveraging the region's global connectivity," Arora told Taproot.

Champion Petfoods was Canada's largest independent pet food company. Founded in 1985, it has production facilities in Morinville and in Parkland County's Acheson Industrial Park, where it built a $350-million production plant in 2019. It sells "biologically appropriate" pet food under the Arcana and Orijen brands in more than 90 countries.

Champion has been one of the largest employers in Morinville. Ikdeep Singh welcomed "more than 800 talented people to the Mars Petcare family" in a news release, and Champion CEO Blaine McPeak called the announcement "a wonderful way to recognize all the employees over our history who helped build Champion into a pre-eminent global pet food company."

The outside of the Champion Petfoods facility in Acheson, with a white maple leaf on a large red circle and a sign with the tag line "World's Best Petfood"

Champion Petfoods officially opened its NorthStar kitchen in Acheson in January 2020. (Facebook)

Neither company disclosed how much Mars paid an investor group led by Bedford Capital and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan to acquire Champion. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Nestlé, manufacturer of Friskies, was looking to buy Champion Petfoods for $2 billion.

With this acquisition, Mars Petcare now owns four of the top five pet food brands in Canada – Pedigree, ACANA, Whiskas, and IAMS – and controls more than 20% of the national pet food retail market.

Earlier this year, Mars acquired Nom Nom, a direct-to-consumer fresh pet food company. The company's pet foods and veterinary services divisions now account for 20% of its revenue.

A representative of Champion Petfoods said the company is not commenting on the acquisition at this time, and Mars did not respond to a request for comment.