World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ralston Purina

Ralston Purina Company
Industry food, pet food, animal feeds
Fate Merged with Friskies Pet Care to form Nestlé Purina PetCare
Founded 1894 as Purina Mills
Defunct 2001
Headquarters St. Louis, Missouri
Key people
William H. Danforth, founder
Products Dog food, cat food, animal health products, breakfast cereal, crisp bread

Ralston Purina Company is a former St. Louis, Missouri-based American animal feed and pet food company.

It merged on December 12, 2001, with Swiss food giant Nestlé S.A.'s, Friskies PetCare Company to become Nestlé Purina PetCare Company .[1]


  • History 1
    • Merger with Nestlé 1.1
  • Acquisitions and diversifications 2
  • Logo 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Ralston Purina (originally hyphenated Ralston-Purina) traces its roots to 1894, when founder William H. Danforth established the animal feed company Purina Mills. Its predominant brand for each animal was generally referred to as "Chow"; hence "Purina Horse Chow", "Purina Dog Chow", "Purina Cat Chow", "Purina Rabbit Chow", "Purina Pig Chow" and even "Purina Monkey Chow". Later, the company began producing cereal, which received endorsement by Webster Edgerly, founder of Ralstonism, to market Ralston breakfast cereals. Edgerly was at the time promoting the consumption of whole grain cereal. These cereals became so successful that the name of the enterprise was changed in 1902 to the "Ralston-Purina Company".[2]

In 1986, Ralston Purina sold Purina Mills, its US animal feed business, to British Petroleum. Purina Mills is now owned by Land O'Lakes. In 1994, the Ralston "human food" operations of the Ralston Purina Company were spun off into a new company called Ralcorp Holdings. In 1998, Ralston Purina spun off its international animal feed business as Agribrands which was acquired by Cargill in 2001.[3] The animal feed businesses continue to use the Purina and Chow brands which Purina Mills and Cargill license for use in the US and internationally, respectively.

Merger with Nestlé

Ralston Purina became the subject of an acquisition bid by Swiss-based Nestlé, whose Friskies brand was the other leading US brand of pet food. Nestlé S.A. and Ralston Purina announced in January 2001 a definitive merger agreement.[4] Under the agreement, Nestlé acquired all of Ralston Purina's (NYSE: RAL) outstanding shares for US$33.50 per share in cash. The offer represented a premium of 36 percent over the closing price on Friday, January 12, 2001. The transaction had an enterprise value of US$10.3 billion ($10.0 billion equity plus $1.2 billion of net debt, minus $0.9 billion of financial investments).

Both corporations saw this major strategic transaction as the ideal way to benefit from their combined know-how, complementary strengths and international presence in the growing pet-care market. Several brands of pet food (e.g., "Meow Mix") had to be divested separately to meet antitrust concerns. Purina brands are now made and marketed by a division of Nestlé (Nestlé Purina PetCare) which is still headquartered in St. Louis.

While primarily a pet food company, Ralston Purina also made some other pet-related products, such as Tidy Cats brand and Yesterday's News which is made from recycled newspaper cat litter, purchased from Edward Lowe Industries in 1990. Also, Purina has honoured several Canadian animals every year since 1968 in their Animal Hall of Fame. The latest inductees included a police service dog who "rushed and subdued an armed robber".

Acquisitions and diversifications

In 1977, Ralston Purina acquired Missouri Arena Corporation and the St. Louis Blues National Hockey League franchise. During the company's ownership of the team, they changed the name of the St. Louis Arena to the Checkerdome, reflecting the Ralston Purina logo. The franchise was sold to Harry Ornest on July 27, 1983.

Ralston Purina purchased the Eveready Battery Company in 1986, owner of the Eveready and Energizer brands. The company was spun off in 2000.

Ralston Purina purchased Continental Baking Company, makers of Wonder bread and Hostess cakes, from ITT in 1984. Ralston spun off Continental Baking Company, subsequently bought by Irving, Texas-based Interstate Brands Corporation (IBC).

Ralston Purina opened test market pizza stores called Checkerboard Pizza in 1986. The format was similar to Domino's and Little Caesars. They opened the stores in markets like Moorhead, MN, to test how the Midwestern market would accept the concept. They did well, but Ralston Purina decided not to enter the pizza franchise business and closed all pilots by late 1987.

Ralston Purina owned and further developed the Keystone ski resort in Colorado. The "Checkerboard" slope for kids / beginners at Keystone still bears their logo.

Ralston Purina also owned Jack in the Box fast food restaurants from 1968 to 1985,[5] along with several high end restaurants.

Ralston Purina owned Van Camp Sea Food Company from 1963 to 1988, a tuna cannery with Chicken of the Sea as its main product.

Ralston Purina owned an animal pharmaceutical company in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ralston Purina is famed for its "checkerboard" trademark. The inspiration for the Ralston Purina logo came from founder William Danforth's childhood who dressed in checkerboard cloth.[6] The checkerboard trademark was introduced in 1904.[7] Ralston Purina's headquarters was called Checkerboard Square. The checkerboard logo then evolved into a personal development concept Danforth put forth in his book I Dare You, in which he proposed the four key components in life ("Physical", "Mental", "Social" and "Religious") need to be in balance, and one area was not to develop at the expense of the others.[8] The concept became intertwined with the company in 1921, when it began selling feed that was pressed in cubes called "checkers".[9]

See also


  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ Carman, Tim (2009-04-16), "Food History Potpourri: Ralston Purina’s D.C. Roots", Washington City Paper, retrieved 2009-10-19 
  3. ^ History at
  4. ^ Ackman, Dan (2001-01-16). "Nestle Seals Ralston Deal". Forbes ( LLC). Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "A Glimpse from the Past to the Present". Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Danforth, William. I Dare You!. Kessinger Publishing, LLC.  
  9. ^ "William H. Danforth, Founder". Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 

External links

  • Purina Petcare Corporate Website
  • Purina Mobile Website
  • Purina Mills, LLC (U.S. animal feed brand)
  • Cargill's Purina division (international animal feed brand)
  • Agribrands Purina Canada Inc. (Canada animal feed brand)
  • Ralcorp
  • Purina Mills Poultry Nutrition
  • Purina iPhone App
  • Purina BlackBerry App
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.