British vet giant could be put on the block; may fetch as much as £350 million

Friday, 4 November 2016, 8:12 am

One of Britain’s largest chain of vets could be about to change hands for around £350 million.

[insert picture of a cuddly dog or cat here]

City sources said Summit Partners, the US-based private equity owner of Independent Vetcare (IVC), has been talking to corporate finance types about a sale of the business.

Investment bankers at US firm Jefferies are thought to be in pole position to win the role to sell the business for Summit Partners, said some sources following the situation.

Bath-based Independent Vetcare was formed from the merger of three vetinary groups in the West Country.

The idea was to create a large veterinary services group that gives vets autonomy over clinical decisions. Vets can also opt to keep the name of their practice.

The company, which is run by David Hillier, now has just over 260 clinics scattered across Britain.

Sources said Independent Vetcare is now generating underlying earnings of around £30 million, so the business could be sold for between £250 million and £350 million.

I guess you can see why this might be an attractive asset for a rival private equity firm to purchase. Hard Brexit, soft Brexit or even no Brexit, Jo Public will always look after their pets even in dire economic circumstances.

And I’m told the veterinary sector is still relatively fragmented, meaning there is still room for the larger private equity buccaneers to continue with the “roll up” similar to the consolidation plays that buy-out shops have tried to do in the dental sector.

Independent Vetcare declined to comment. Summit Partners didn’t return calls for comment...

[Disclaimer - the information on Betaville does not consitute any form of investment recommendation and is not intended to be relied upon by readers in making, or refraining from, any investment decisions].

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