In line with an increasing trend in recent years, pet players around the world continued to attract investor interest in 2023. We take a look at the major developments and the growth areas to watch out for.
One of the year’s biggest financial transactions in the field occurred in June, when manufacturer The J.M. Smucker Company divested some pet food brands to packaged goods company Post Holdings for $1.2 billion (€1B). Later in the year, Post Holdings developed its pet business even more with the purchase of private label manufacturer Perfection Pet Foods for $235 million (€215M).
In August, private equity (PE) firm PAI Partners acquired pet food manufacturer Alphia in a transaction worth around $1 billion (€918.5M).
General Mills stepped into the world of pet supplements last year with the acquisition of Californian dog and cat supplement company Fera Pet. The multinational hopes the supplement firm will bring a “health-focused” dimension to its pet portfolio.
Central Garden & Pet, the largest distributor of garden and pet supplies in the US, took over TDBBS, a premium natural dog treat provider from the state of Virginia.
In the UK, dog food subscription company Butternut Box raised £280 million ($354.2M/€325M) in the fall to advance the company’s “long-term vision” of developing the fresh pet food category across Europe. Earlier in the year, the firm had acquired the Polish fresh dog food company PsiBufet, with the objective of expanding further into Central and Eastern Europe.
UK manufacturer Assisi Pet Care was acquired by Chicago PE firm Wind Point Partners in October. Shortly afterwards, Assisi announced the acquisition of UK-based pet food company Burns Pet Nutrition for an undisclosed amount.
Premium pet food provider Voff expanded its footprint in the Netherlands and Belgium last year, with the acquisition of raw pet food producers Energique and Carnibest, while Czech manufacturer VAFO Group acquired UK pet food firm Pooch & Mutt.
In December, Belgian private label manufacturer United Petfood announced the takeover of the Dutch company De Haan Petfood to consolidate its success in the wet food category.
Developments in India and Australia
PE firm L Catterton entered the Indian market in 2023 with an investment of $60 million (€55M) in Bengaluru-based Drools. The brand will leverage L Catterton’s expertise to strengthen its position as the largest domestic player in India’s booming pet food market.
Australian fresh pet food firm Lyka secured a capital injection of AU$55 million ($36.7M/€33.7M), which will be used to triple its production to help meet demand.
US online pet care marketplace Rover Group announced in November that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by private investment firm Blackstone for $2.3 billion (€2.1B). The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.
In Europe, a consortium led by Portuguese multinational Sonae put in a bid of €868 million ($947M) to take over Finnish pet retailer Musti – part of a strategy to internationalize its retail portfolio by reinforcing its presence in the “rapidly growing” pet care retail sector.
In November, German pet retailer Fressnapf announced the takeover of Dutch pet retailer Jumper. Owner and founder Torsten Toeller explained that this takeover is a “strategically important” step for the firm’s positioning in the Netherlands.
South Africa’s largest retail group Woolworths acquired 93.45% of pet retailer Absolute Pets, while Sydney-based online pet retailer Pet Circle received a capital injection of AU$75 million ($50M/€45.8M).
Back in April, French insect farming firm Ÿnsect secured a Series D funding round worth €160 million ($175.5M) to accelerate marketing authorizations for its ingredients across various markets, including Asia.
In October, US manufacturer Tyson Foods invested $55 million (€50.4M) in Dutch insect supplier Protix to boost its global expansion strategy as well as its research and development capabilities. The companies also entered into a joint venture to construct and operate a low-footprint insect ingredient facility.
Veterinary and insurance sector
Swedish PE firm EQT made 2 acquisitions in 2023: London-based veterinary pharmaceutical company Dechra for £4.46 billion ($5.7B/€5.1B) and Australian vet care provider VetPartners for AU$1.4 billion ($940M/€858.2M).
In another European development, UK financial group Admiral acquired the Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) pet insurance business for £115 million ($145.5M/€133M).
And Swedish pet insurance firm Lassie raised €23 million ($24.9M) in a Series B funding round to expand the company’s footprint in Europe and improve its e-commerce capabilities.
Mars Petcare acquired veterinary product provider Heska in April. The Colorado firm is set to join Mars in its whole pet portfolio across veterinary health and diagnostics, nutrition, innovation and technology.
Veterinary and grooming software platform Petvisor and New York-based service provider Bond Vet raised $100 million (€91.7M) and $50 million (€45.8M) respectively. Later in the year, Petfolk pet care centers in North Carolina raised $40 million (€36.6M), and pet pharmacy firm Mixlab, also in the US, announced a $10 million (€9.1M) investment – both aiming to expand their veterinary services.
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