Mars Inc., the closely held maker of M&M’s candies and Uncle Ben’s rice, agreed to buy three Procter & Gamble Co. pet food brands for $2.9 billion, cementing its lead in the industry.
The transaction, which excludes the brands’ businesses in some markets, mainly in Europe, will be completed in the second half of the year, the companies said today in a statement.
The acquisition gives Mars the Iams, Eukanuba and Natura lines to add to its Pedigree, Whiskas and Royal Canin brands. McLean, Va.-based Mars was the largest global pet-food seller in 2012, with 23.4 percent of the market, compared with 23.1 percent for Purina owner Nestle SA, according to researcher Euromonitor International.
P&G said it will restate its results to reduce fiscal 2013 earnings per share by 3 cents and cut 2014 earnings by 4 cents. The sale won’t affect P&G’s forecast for profit growth in its fiscal 2014, which runs through June, and won’t have a material effect on fiscal 2015 results. Cash from the sale will be used for general corporate purposes, the company said.
P&G shares rose 0.2 percent to $81.49 Wednesday. The shares are little changed this year.
A.G. Lafley, who returned as P&G’s chief executive officer last year, has been working to cut costs and evaluate the company’s units for potential divestitures. Analysts and investors considered Iams, which P&G bought in 1999, a natural candidate. The business hasn’t been a good one for P&G, said Ali Dibadj, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., who recommends buying P&G shares.
“I wish they’d never bought this thing,” he said. “They’re unraveling some of their mistakes, and this potentially was one.”