WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Central Garden & Pet Company has announced that it has agreed to acquire the stock of Farnam Companies Inc., for approximately $287 million, plus $4 million for the purchase of related real property.

Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Farnam is a leading manufacturer and marketer of innovative health care products primarily for horses, household pets and livestock sold through over-the-counter and veterinary channels. In addition to the internationally recognized Farnam umbrella brand, Farnam's portfolio of industry leading brands includes Equicare(R), ComboCare(TM), IverCare(TM), Endure(R), and Repel-X(R) for horses; D-Worm(TM), BioSpot(R) and Scratchex(R) for household pets; and Adams(TM) and Bite Free(TM) insect controls for home and yard care.

"The strategic acquisition of Farnam and its extensive portfolio of highly efficacious animal health care products propels Central into the leadership position in the equine marketplace, and provides us with a significantly stronger presence in the broader animal health care industry," noted Glenn Novotny, president and CEO of Central.

"Farnam and Wellmark International, Central's wholly owned subsidiary, will combine to form a new, industry leading animal health strategic business unit. The mission of the new strategic business unit is to launch new, innovative products that, we believe, will further enhance our leadership position in active ingredient based products and technologies for animal health."

In its fiscal year ending Nov. 30, 2005, Farnam generated net sales of approximately $160 million. The acquisition is expected to be earnings neutral for fiscal 2006. The transaction is expected to close in Central's second fiscal quarter ending March 2006 and is subject to satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions.

Charles Duff, Farnam's board chairman, said, "I am delighted that Central Garden will be acquiring Farnam. Central's markets, business operations and corporate culture are very compatible with those of Farnam, and we foresee a fast, seamless integration producing significant economic benefits for the combined companies.

"Equally important, we anticipate that the combination of these two fine companies will provide significant benefits to consumers and exciting opportunities for our channel partners in the future."

Etkin & Company Inc. initiated the transaction and acted as exclusive financial advisor to Farnam and the Farnam shareholders in the sale of the business.

"For 60 years, consumers and animal health professionals alike have relied on Farnam for quality, innovative products to help care for their horses and household pets. It is one of the most trusted brands in the animal health industry," said Novotny. "We look forward to working with the experienced Farnam management team to develop the next generation of animal health products to further enrich the bond between consumers and their animals."

Central Garden & Pet Co. is a leading innovator, marketer and producer of quality branded products for the pet and lawn and garden supplies markets.

SOURCE: Central Garden & Pet Company via Business Wire.