Mars (of bars fame) in $9bn deal to buy US animal hospital company

William Turvill
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Animals Are Treated At The Battersea Veterinary Hospital
Founded in 1986 in Los Angeles, VCA runs nearly 800 animal hospitals in North America (Source: Getty)

Chocolate bar firm Mars has agreed a $9.1bn (£7.5bn) takeover deal for the largest operator of pet hospitals in the United States.

While Mars is best known for its bars, the company also owns Whiskas and Pedigree and claims to be the world’s biggest pet food manufacturer.

The firm today announced it had made a $93-per-share offer for VCA, at a total value of $9.1bn, including $1.4bn in outstanding debt.

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VCA, which has the ticker symbol “WOOF”, saw its share price leap 28 per cent to $90.87 on Nasdaq on Monday morning in the US.

Mars, which has been in the pet care industry for more than 80 years, said the offer represented a 41 per cent premium on VCA’s 30-day average on 6 January.

VCA was founded in 1986 in Los Angeles and now has nearly 800 animal hospitals with 60 diagnostic laboratories across the US and Canada.

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Mars chief executive Grant Reid said:

VCA is a leader across pet health care and the opportunity we see together – for pets, pet owners, veterinarians and other pet care providers – is tremendous.

We have great respect for VCA, with whom we share many common values and a strong commitment to pet care. Together, we will be able to provide even greater value, better service and higher quality care to pets and pet owners.

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