Potpourri Group Acquires FetchDog

Multititle mailer Potpourri Group has purchased dog accessories merchant FetchDog – cofounded by actress Glenn Close and her husband, David Shaw – for an undisclosed price.

FetchDog, which sells high-end dog bowls, leashes, toys and other products via catalog and online, was launched in 2007 by Close and Shaw. Potpourri Group, founded in 1963, owns several titles including In the Company of Dogs, a home decor and gifts catalog.

Potpourri Group President and CEO Jonathan Fleischmann said he was initially attracted to the similarity in product assortment and price points between In the Company of Dogs and FetchDog.

“While FetchDog has been perceived by most to be a competitor to our In the Company of Dogs brand, we actually found that there was much less customer file duplication than expected,” Fleischmann said. “Going forward, FetchDog customers will receive co-branded catalogs and are already being directed to a similarly co-branded website.”

Fleischmann said all FetchDog operations have been integrated into Potpourri Group’s corporate and fulfillment functions, adding the first co-branded catalog will mail to Fetchdog customers in a few weeks.

Fleischmann said Potpourri Group should see “roughly a 30% increase in the combined buyer housefile circulation.” He declined to provide 2011 sales figures for In the Company of Dogs or FetchDog, but said In the Company of Dogs is the larger of the two companies and FetchDog will become part of that family.

Potpourri Group’s In the Company of Dogs catalog seems like a perfect fit for FetchDog.

“An online dog business makes sense strategically,” Lee Helman, managing director for investment firm Financo, said. “Clearly, leveraging the In the Company of Dogs housefile could be an interesting play if the product offerings are complementary as a way to expand both businesses.”

Chris Kampe, managing director for investment firm Tully & Holland, said Potpourri Group, which had been inactive in the mergers and acquisitions arena, is “aggressively seeking acquisitions again.”

FetchDog, backed by venture capitalists Borealis Ventures, Harbor Light Capital Partners, and Black Point Group, fits perfectly with Potpourri’s existing In the Company of Dogs catalog, Kampe said.

“This transaction is consistent with the theme about ecommerce dominating multichannel M&A transactions, with both catalog companies and brick-in-mortar retailers acquiring internet retailers in similar product categories,” Kampe said.

Kampe expects Potpourri Group will be able to leverage its existing merchandising and fulfillment infrastructure to improve the profitability of FetchDog. “I expect they will attempt to cross-sell and cross-fertilize the two entities’ lists.”

Jim Tierney (jim.tierney@penton.com) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.

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