Mars Inc. to buy chain of pet hospitals for $ 7.7 billion

Global pet food and candy maker Mars Inc. is doubling its growing pet care business with the acquisition of the animal hospital chain VCA Inc.

The deal, valued at around $ 7.7 billion, not including debt, represents a major investment by Mars in the burgeoning pet care industry and will bring together 800 veterinary hospitals with 60 diagnostic labs under the aegis of Mars Petcare.

One of the largest privately held companies in the United States, Mars is the maker of popular brands of Pedigree dog food, Doublemint and Orbit gum, M & M’s, Snickers, and Dove chocolate. The company has net sales of more than $ 35 billion in its six business segments, which include Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience.

“We are delighted to welcome VCA to the Mars family and to our portfolio of brands and businesses around the world,” Grant F. Reid, CEO of Mars, said in a statement. “VCA is a leader in pet health care and the opportunity we see together – for pets, pet owners, veterinarians and other pet care providers. company – is great. 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 deliver even greater value, better service and better care for animals and pet owners.

VCA will operate as a separate business unit within Mars Petcare and VCA CEO Bob Antin will lead this division from VCA headquarters in Los Angeles.

“Joining the Mars family of brands provides significant value to our shareholders while upholding corporate values ​​and a culture focused on investing in our people and facilities to promote excellence in animal care and growth. long term, ”Antin said in a statement. “Mars has a long-standing commitment to the health, wellness and nutrition of companion animals. We will work together every day to continue to provide the quality care and excellent service that VCA is known for at our customers and their pet families. “

Animal care has been a part of Mars’ business for over 80 years. The company’s portfolio of veterinary services business includes Banfield Pet Hospital, Bluepearl and Pet Partners.

In 2007, Mars Inc., based in McLean, Va., Moved its North American Petcare headquarters to Franklin from Los Angeles. In 2014, the company opened a $ 110 million Global Innovation Center campus at Thompson Station.

The company is one of Williamson County’s largest employers, behind giants such as Community Health Systems, Nissan, and Williamson Medical Center. As of October, the company employed about 900 people in the county out of its 4,000 employees nationwide and 80,000 employees worldwide.

The agreement between Mars and VCA was unanimously approved by the board of directors of both companies. The deal is expected to be finalized in the third quarter.

Contact Lizzy Alfs at 615-726-5948 and on Twitter @lizzyalfs.

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