Lander & Rogers advises leading pet care manufacturer FibreCycle on dual acquisition

Man with two dogs
  • Simultaneous acquisition of Australian pet industry businesses to drive operational efficiencies and expedite global expansion for pet group

Leading law firm Lander & Rogers has advised FibreCycle Pty Ltd, a US-owned Australian-based manufacturer of premium pet care products, on the simultaneous acquisition of local pet brands Our Bird Pty Ltd and Lovitts Group Pty Ltd.

According to Lander & Rogers lead partner Deanna Constable, the strategic acquisitions deliver synergies to FibreCycle and its parent group Kent Corporation, deepening its market penetration locally, and accelerating the group's global growth strategy in key pet product categories including litter, bird products and fast-growing pet treats.

Ms Constable said the deal, which was 12 months in the making, "enables FibreCycle to optimise its manufacturing logistics and distribution to unlock greater operational efficiencies".

The already fast-growing industry saw booming increases in pet ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, putting FibreCycle in a great position. Based on 2019 figures, the estimated worth of the Australian pet market was USD$9billion. With COVID-driven increases in pet ownership, a total of 69% of all Australian households now own a pet with almost 50% owning at least one dog (40% in 2019), and 30% owning at least a cat (27% in 2019)1.

Supporting Ms Constable on the deal was senior associate Joann Yap and a multidisciplinary cross-practice legal team including corporate M&A, competition, workplace relations and safety, real estate and projects, commercial disputes and environment.

Ms Constable said, "it was an all-or-nothing deal that required simultaneous acquisitions of both targets. This meant drawing on the deep expertise of our firm to run a concurrent approach to the multifaceted matters". As lead counsel on the deal Lander & Rogers provided strategic guidance from the outset while also project managing the matters from start to finish in a race to complete by 30 June 2022.

"From acquisition of entities and physical property, land licensing, due diligence, and employment contracts to negotiating discounted fees for and configuring two data rooms, preparing the sale and purchase agreements (SPA), and managing timetables so that both deals signed on the same date and completed at the same time - we were there with the client at each step of the way," said Ms Constable.

Working with FibreCycle since 2018 when it was acquired by Kent Corporation, Ms Constable commented on the role that trust and collaboration played in executing the complex and timely deal.

"FibreCycle's Australian deal team was outstanding, given they did not have deep experience in acquiring new businesses. We acted as a deep sounding board for legal, commercial, and strategic questions from the deal team every step of the way. That built a work ethic and trust that led to the Lander & Rogers team being instrumental in making calls on risk and commercial consequence. That is where we love to play - it's where we can make a real difference."

Noting the bench strength of the deal team, FibreCycle chief executive officer Steve Adams acknowledged the importance of partnering with experienced legal advisors that understood the company's business and ambitions. "We've worked with Lander & Rogers over many years on business-as-usual matters. The firm has a mastery across legal subject matter with the ability to sub-in the specialists we need at every turn without loss of momentum. The team's ability to break down legalese enables us to understand the materiality of our decisions at each step of the way," said Mr Adams.

Ms Constable congratulated FibreCycle on the acquisitions and looked forward to continuing to partner with the business as it grows.

The transaction is just one of numerous major strategic M&A matters the firm has acted on recently, including RACE consortium's acquisition of Supercars Championship.

Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash

1 Pets in Australia: a national survey of pets and people, Animal Medicines Australia