The firm makes the Nutrish brand.

The J.M. Smucker Co. has announced plans to acquire Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC, maker of Rachael Ray's Nutrish brand.

The deal is valued at about $1.7 billion after an estimated tax benefit of $200 million, according to a press release.

"Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is an excellent strategic fit for our Company, as the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand adds another high-growth, on-trend brand to our pet food portfolio," said CEO Mark Smucker. "Their team has done a tremendous job growing this business, building Nutrish into one of the most recognizable premium pet food brands in the United States.  We look forward to working with the talented Ainsworth team, as we know their passion for pets runs as deep as ours." 

 In addition to its headquarters in Meadville, PA, the deal includes two manufacturing facilities owned by Ainsworth, which are located in Meadville and Frontenac, KS, and a leased distribution facility in Greenville, PA. Smucker anticipates bringing on over 700 Ainsworth employees with the transaction. 

Ainsworth operates two additional manufacturing facilities that are primarily used to provide contract manufacturing services to third-party pet food distributors. Those facilities and the associated business are not included in the deal.

The deal is expected to close early in Smucker's fiscal year beginning May 1.

Jeff Watters, president and CEO of Ainsworth, said the acquisition "validates the power of the Ainsworth company mission."

"At Ainsworth, our goal has been to improve the lives of pet families everywhere by making high quality pet food accessible to all pet parents," Watters said. "This single-minded focus has resonated with consumers and will continue to resonate under Smucker leadership."

Smucker expects Ainsworth to contribute net sales of about $800 million in the first full year after closing the deal.