USA – General Mills has announced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission had granted clearance on the proposed acquisition of Blue Buffalo, a natural, healthy dog and cat food company.

The company said that FTC had granted an early termination of the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended in the US.

The deal which awaited clearance under applicable antitrust and competition laws has been completely satisfied, marking an important stride towards complete acquisition of the pet company for US$8 billion.

Also, the clearance means that the company will go ahead with the announced merger transaction for all issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. at a price of USD40.00 per share with respect to clearance under applicable antitrust and competition laws.

Although General Mills expects the transaction to close by May 2018, complete acquisition still remains subject to certain other conditions in accordance to US laws.

General Mills plans to enter the fast-growing pet industry dominated by Mars Inc., Nestle and JM Smucker through Blue Buffalo acquisition, expected to operate as a separate unit within General Mills.

The company had earlier said that the transaction will be immediately accretive to General Mills net sales growth and operating margin profile, and is expected to be neutral to cash EPS in fiscal 2019 and accretive in fiscal 2020.

The acquisition will be funded with debt, cash on hand and about US$1 billion in equity and they believe it will help boost sales and add to the company’s earnings in the next two years.

General Mills is seeking a mileage in the pet industry even as packaged-food companies already are struggling to respond to a shift in consumer preferences toward healthier, simpler foods.

As both millennials and online sales continue to increase, US pet food market is expected to reach US$27 billion in 2018, an upward surge from US$26 billion in 2017, according to Pet Food in the U.S., 13th Edition report.