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Mars to acquire Kevin's Natural Foods for $800M

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Mars, whose product portfolio ranges from Snickers candy bars to Whiskas cat food, has agreed to acquire Kevin's Natural Foods, it announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Despite an opening in the IPO market, the company ultimately chose a sale.

Flashback: Axios reported in January that the company was weighing an exit and noted its relationship with investment bank Wells Fargo, which served as sell-side adviser on the deal.

Details: The transaction values the business at $800 million, per Reuters, though a Mars spokesperson declined to comment.

  • The deal resulted from a competitive auction process, a source familiar tells Axios.
  • Kevin's co-founder, Kevin McCray, previously said that the company expected to generate $190 million in revenue this year.
  • Last year the company had $140 million in sales, while in 2021 it had $100 million, in 2020 it had $45 million, and in 2019 it had only $8 million.

Catch up fast: In late 2021, Kevin's announced a minority investment by PE firms TowerBrook Capital Partners and NewRoad Capital Partners.

  • That investment funded expanded production capacity to meet the company's growth trajectory until it reaches $500 million in revenue, a figure it projects it will hit by 2025.

What they're saying: Mars acquired Kevin's to begin to build a presence in healthier foods and in the refrigerated section of grocery, a Mars spokesperson said.

  • In that vein, the company plans to make more acquisitions near term, also per Reuters.
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