Viserion Milling, a newly formed subsidiary of Viserion International, announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Western Milling, a California-based dairy cattle feed supplier.
Viserion Milling, LLC, a newly formed subsidiary of Viserion International Holdco, LLC announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Western Milling, LLC, a diversified California-based agribusiness, from Kruse Western, Inc.
Viserion International and its subsidiaries are backed by Pinnacle Asset Management, L.P., a New York-based alternative asset management firm focused on global commodities markets.
With a legacy dating back to 1935, Western Milling is one of the oldest and largest industrial providers of mixed grain cattle feed products to the dairy industry in California—which accounts for approximately 20% of all U.S. dairy output—and operates large-scale fertilizer transportation and grain merchandising businesses with a fleet of natural gas-powered trucks.
FULL SUITE OF CUSTOMIZABLE ANIMAL NUTRITION PRODUCTS
Beyond mixed cattle feed, Western Milling provides a full suite of customizable animal nutrition products including complete feeds, blended vitamin-rich feeds, pelleted feeds for both poultry and branded pet foods, rolled grains, supplements, and other grain commodities including millrun, molasses, rice bran, and whey. The primary facilities being acquired by Viserion are located in Visalia (headquarters), Hanford and Famoso, California; Hereford, Texas; and Buckeye, Arizona.
Aaron Wiegand, CEO of Viserion International, said, “Western Milling has been a well-respected cornerstone of California’s agriculture industry for nearly a century. We are thrilled to acquire this outstanding, multifaceted company whose feed mill and fertilizer operations will complement Viserion International’s existing grain-handling and commodity trading offerings. We look forward to working with Western Milling’s seasoned management team and excellent operational personnel, who will strengthen our international agribusiness platform.”
Kevin Kruse, outgoing CEO of Western Milling and grandson of Western Milling’s founder Otto Kruse, will serve as Executive Chairman of Western Milling. Chad Pinter, currently Chief Financial Officer of Western Milling, will succeed Kevin as Chief Executive Officer.
Jason M. Kellman, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Pinnacle, commented, “Viserion International’s domestic growth plans will be significantly amplified by Viserion Milling’s comprehensive portfolio of agribusiness units and established presence in the California dairy market. Following Viserion International’s recent portfolio acquisition of ten grain elevator facilities from Zen-Noh Grain Corporation, we are pleased that the company continues to grow into one of the leading agricultural merchants in the U.S.”
SEVERAL STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS IN RECENT YEARS
Over the past six years, Pinnacle-managed entities have made several strategic investments to bolster the firm’s physical commodities trading and merchanting businesses. The investments include acquiring Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, the world’s largest cattle feeding operation from JBS USA in 2018, and in 2017, Pinnacle partnered with Noble Group’s former Head of North American Gas and Power, Ben Sutton, to acquire Sierentz Global Merchants and form Six One Commodities (“61C”), a global energy merchant.
In 2021, 61C acquired Vega Energy Partners, Ltd. and WGL Midstream, Inc., a Houston, TX-based energy merchant and wholesale energy solutions business. Pinnacle is also the largest shareholder of Concord Resources Holdings Limited, a global metals merchant formed in 2015 with a team of former Noble Group executives.
Rabobank acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Kruse Western, Inc. on the transaction.