Create a free Feed & Grain account to continue reading

Viserion Milling Acquires Western Milling

Western Milling provides mixed grain cattle feed products to the dairy industry in California

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot
Photo: Western Milling website
Photo: Western Milling website

Viserion Milling, LLC, a newly formed subsidiary of Viserion International Holdco, LLC, 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.

Western Milling provides mixed grain cattle feed products

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.

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, CA; Hereford, TX; and Buckeye, AZ.

Western Milling has been a well-respected cornerstone of California's agriculture industry for nearly a century, said Aaron Wiegand, CEO of Viserion International.

"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," said Wiegand.

"We look forward to working with Western Milling's seasoned management team and excellent operational personnel, who will strengthen our international agribusiness platform."

Western Milling ongoing lawsuit

According to the Business Journal, in 2015 Western Milling executed an employee stock ownership plan, selling employees all of the company’s stock for $244 million. The plan was created a couple months after Western Milling issued a recall of horse feed believed to have led to the death of 21 horses at a Clovis horse ranch.

An employee sued the Western Milling parent company, alleging company officials violated the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act in selling the stock at an inflated value.

A couple of years later, the stock purchased for $244 million was worth $27.4 million, losing 90% of its value, according to court documents. The lawsuit is still active

Western Milling leadership changes

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 CFO of Western Milling, will succeed Kruse as CEO.

Strategic investments, acquisitions continue

"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," said Jason M. Kellman, managing partner and Chief Investment Officer of Pinnacle.

"Following Viserion International's recent portfolio acquisition of 10 grain elevator facilities from Zen-Noh Grain Corp., we are pleased that the company continues to grow into one of the leading agricultural merchants in the U.S."

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:

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.

Page 1 of 202
Next Page