Breaking News: Worldwise And Quaker Pet Group Merge In Pet Product Cou
The Worldwise and Quaker Pet Group merger, which was announced today, will bring the two heavyweight pet companies together to combine their product lines and allow them to expand into various niche product markets. The name Quaker Pet Group (QPG) might not mean too much to you, but chances are you know and own a few of the popular brand products that they are responsible for: SHERPA®, goDog™ and Hear Doggy!™ (products that I am a fan of). The same goes with Worldwise – the company behind Petlinks®, SmartyKat®, TrustyPup® and kathy ireland® Loved Ones.
In an exclusive interview with PetGuide.com, when asked about the merger and the purchasing price of Quaker Pet Group (QPG), Kevin Fick, CEO of Worldwise, said: “It was entirely a stock deal, which makes it a true merger of our two companies.” A merger is, by definition, when two firms, around the same size, agree to move forward as a single new company, rather than remain separately owned and operated.
According to Fick, the merger has been in the works for some time. “Both we and QPG wanted to ensure it was a good fit – and as we discovered our product lines, categories and core competencies are very complementary,” said Fick. “We were interested in QPG because of their dedication to innovation, quality and solution-based products that has resulted in their success in the highly competitive categories where they play.”
By joining the Worldwise team, QPG products and brands would benefit from their EcoAdvantages program – a fact that holds sway with cause-oriented pet parents (EcoAdvantages identifies the environmentally responsible materials and processes used in every product, such as recycled plastic bottles, reclaimed visco-elastic foam and natural alternatives). And Fick says that they will stick to the EcoAdvantage program with Worldwise’s current product lines, and “every effort will be made to incorporate environmentally responsible materials wherever possible in QPG’s products.”
As for changes to the QPG manufacturing process, Fick says the only change in day-to-day activity will be the consolidation of QPG’s distribution operations to its warehouse in Dallas, Texas. Changes in management will see David Blatte, Quaker Pet Group’s current CEO, join Worldwise’s board of directors, while Neil Werde, Quaker’s current President, will continue to lead the Denver-based product development team.
And what did Fick think about the increasing trend of larger companies buying up smaller, niche or well-known brands/pet companies? “We can’t speak for anyone else’s experience, but for us the complementary core competencies between Worldwise and QPG make the merger a win-win for everyone involved,” he said. But how will these mergers benefit customers? “It benefits consumers through more solution-based innovation across all brands and because they’ll be able to find Worldwise’s and QPG’s great brands and products at more locations,” is Fick’s answer.
For those of us in the pet industry, this is like two noble houses joining forces in a “Game of Thrones” move to strengthen their kingdoms (well, petdoms, in this case). Both offer high-quality, proven pet products, and both companies have already carved out a successful niche in the marketplace. It makes sense. Pet spending is on the rise – according to the American Pet Products Association in 2014, overall spending for pets exceeded $58 billion, with an estimated $60.59 billion to be spent in 2015. In order to remain relevant and top of mind in this industry, you need to not only produce new, quality products in order to keep your standing as an industry leader, but also look at innovative ways to break into popular niches that attract a particular demographic.
I’m a fan of Worldwise and Quaker Pet Group, and think that their products are awesome. However, I’m not only curious to see what the merger will mean in terms of cool and innovative pet products, I also wonder what this will mean to smaller companies looking to enter the marketplace. The pet industry is dominated by consumers who are fiercely loyal to their brands and buy according to what they think is the highest quality for their pet. Eco-friendly, cause-related and organic-focused pet companies have tapped into these pet parents and are making headway in the market. It’ll be interesting to see what Worldwise has planned for its new holdings in the future.
What do you think of the Quaker Pet Group/Worldwise merger? Will it affect what you purchase from the brands mentioned? Let me know in the comment section below. And I’ll keep my ear to the ground and keep you posted.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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