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Smucker sells pet brands to Post; DSW owner buys Keds

Dealboard has details on funding + M&A news from eBay, The Ugly Company and Roar Organic.

yellow-and-white low-top sneakers
Photo by Jamie Waynick on Unsplash

Welcome to Dealboard. In this weekly feature, The Current is providing a look at the mergers, acquisitions and venture capital deals making waves in ecommerce, CPG and retail.

This week, Post brings on a pack of pet food brands, and recognizable brands Keds and Tofurky have new owners. Meanwhile, growing brands making upcycled fruit snacks and hydration beverages raised new funds.

The Ugly Company, an upcycled fruit snacks brand, raised $9 million in a Series A funding round. Sun Valley Packing and Value Creation Strategies led the financing, with participation from musician Justin Timberlake and Valley Ag Capital Holdings. The Ugly Company takes fruit from farmers that is deemed unfit for shelves and would otherwise go to waste, and turns it into dried fruit snacks. Along with its DTC site, the company has a presence in Sprouts and Whole Foods. It is also expanding to West Coast grocery stores owned by Kroger later this year.

Roar Organic, a beverage brand, raised $6 million in new funding, according to CityBiz. The brand will use the funds to grow its product line, expand operations and extend business reach. Led by Bill Lange, Roar makes a line of hydration beverages with vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes. The brand has online distribution through Whole Foods, and a presence in grocers including Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, Sprouts and Wegmans.

Post Holdings is buying a series of pet food brands fromThe J.M. Smucker Co.for $1.2 billion. Post will now own Rachael Ray, Nutrish, 9Lives, Kibbles 'n Bits, Nature's Recipe, Gravy Train and Smucker’s private label pet food business. These brands are expected to generate $1.5 billion in revenue in this fiscale year. With the deal, a group of employees in Smucker’s pet food division will join Post, and that company will assume control of production facilities for the brands in Pennsylvania and Kansas. Smucker CEO Mark Smucker said the move is part of the company's "strategy to prioritize investments and resources in the areas of our business that offer the strongest growth and profit potential."

Keds was sold to DSW owner Designer Brands, Inc. by Wolverine Worldwide. The deal for the iconic footwear brand comes as Wolverine is aiming to reduce complexity. Along with the sale, Wolverine is also granting the exclusive U.S. and Canadian license for Hush Puppies footwear to DBI. Combined, these deals are expected to generate $90 million.

eBayacquired 3PM Shield, a provider of marketplace compliance technology. In bringing aboard 3PM Shield’s AI-based software, eBay will aim to strengthen protection against the sale of counterfeit items, unsafe products and illegal goods on its ecommerce marketplace. The companies previously worked together as partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Morinaga Nutritional Foods, the U.S.-based manufacturer of Mori-Nu Silken Tofu, acquired plant-based protein brands Tofurky and Moocho. With the deal, Morinaga plans to add operational capacity at Tofurky’s production facility in Hood River, Oregon. That facility will join Morinaga’s existing tofu manufacturing plants in Torrance, California, and Tualatin, Oregon. Terms were not disclosed.

Firefly Buys, an ecommerce accelerator, was acquired by reCommerce, a technology-enabled strategic partner to brands selling on Amazon. Founded in 2006 by Ryan Flanegan, Ryan Kuelpman, and Jonathan Katz, Firefly Buys provides brands with supply chain management, listing optimization and a formula to increase product availability and sales on Amazon.
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