LONDON — Cinven, a global private equity firm, is building a pet retail empire in Italy with the acquisition of two pet store chains.

Cinven initially acquired a majority stake in Arcaplanet, and the two companies will go on to acquire Maxi Zoo Italia, a subsidiary of Fressnapf Group and the third-largest pet care business in Italy, according to the company.

The acquisition will result in a leading, 500-store network — including both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce platforms — serving the Italian pet care market.

Founded in 1995 by Michele Foppiani, current chief executive officer, Arcaplanet opened its first pet store in Chiavari, Liguria in 1998. Today, the business operates across 17 regions in Italy.

“Arcaplanet is a clear market leader in Italy, best positioned to capitalize on the omnichannel market opportunity going forward,” said Eugenio Preve, partner and head of Italy at Cinven. “This investment fits with Cinven’s focus of investing in Italian champions to support their growth both domestically and internationally. In particular, the Cinven team has been impressed with the entrepreneurial vision of Arcaplanet’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Michele Foppiani, and the business’s considerable achievements under his leadership.”

Fressnapf Group is based in Germany and operates its Maxi Zoo retail brand in more than 11 countries. According to Cinven, Fressnapf Group is a leading European pet care provider.

Italy’s pet care market is currently worth approximately €3.4 billion ($4 billion USD), Cinven reported. The private equity company aims to accelerate penetration, premiumization and innovation for Arcaplanet and Maxi Zoo Italia.

“The combination of Arcaplanet and Maxi Zoo Italia creates a fantastic platform from which to drive growth in the pet care market and we look forward to working with management and Fressnapf to accelerate this opportunity,” added Maxim Crewe, partner and head of consumer at Cinven. “Cinven’s Consumer team has deep understanding of the pet care sector given Cinven’s investment in Partner in Pet Food, and the mega trends fueling sector growth such as pet humanization and product premiumization and specialization. In addition, Cinven has considerable experience in omnichannel retailing and accelerating digital strategies, and we look forward to supporting the Arcaplanet Group’s expansion in these areas.”

In June 2018, Cinven acquired Partner in Pet Food, a leading European pet food manufacturer, for an undisclosed amount. The company’s recent retail acquisitions build upon this move, as Cinven looks to capitalize on the growing market for pet food and pet care products in Europe.

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