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General Mills to pay $8 bn to acquire Blue Buffalo pet foods

© GETTY/AFP | The Pillsbury Doughboy's parent company General Mills, which also has a long line of natural and organic foods, is moving into the natrual pet food market with the acquisition the Blue Buffalo line of products

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

US food conglomerate General Mills is adding dogs and cats to its portfolio, in an $8 billion deal to acquire natural pet food company Blue Buffalo, the companies announced Friday.

The Minnesota-based maker of Cheerios cereal, Yoplait yogurt and home of the Pillsbury Doughboy, said the acquisition gives the company a way into a growing $30 billion market for pet food.

Founded in 2002 in Connecticut, Blue Buffalo has seen double-digit sales growth of its natural products in each of the last three years with $1.3 billion in sales last year.

"The addition of BLUE to our family of well-loved brands provides General Mills with the leading position in the large and growing Wholesome Natural pet food category," General Mills Chairman Jeff Harmening said in a statement.

Noting that General Mills has a large line of natural and organic products for people, including Annie's and Larabar, Harmening said, "In pet food, as in human food, consumers are seeking more natural and premium products."

Blue Buffalo chief Billy Bishop said the partnership gives his company the ability to reach more "pet parents."

"I have been impressed by General Mills' strong track record of accelerating growth for its natural and organic brands," Bishop said. "General Mills will be a tremendous home for our BLUE brand."

The deal, which is subject to approval by regulators, is expected to be finalized by late May, the statement said.

© 2018 AFP