STOCKHOLM — Pet Bidco GmbH, a holding company of EQT Private Equity, on Sept. 25 announced a voluntary public takeover offer for all shares of Zooplus AG, a leading European pet food and supplies e-commerce company. This is the latest move in a bidding war for strategic ownership of Zooplus.

In August, private equity firm Hellman & Friedman announced it had entered an investment agreement with Zooplus, in which the company would invest in and assume ownership of the e-commerce pet supply business. Hellman & Friedman valued the deal at roughly €3 billion ($3.5 billion USD), or €390 per share.

On Sept. 12, Hellman & Friedman announced it has increased the price of its takeover offer to €460 per share.

This latest cash offer from EQT equates to roughly €470 per share, according to the firm, which reflects a premium of 69% of Zooplus’s last unaffected share price on Aug. 12. EQT shared it completed an investment agreement with Pet BidCo on Sept. 28, and that “the management and supervisory board of Zooplus welcome EQT Private Equity’s offer.”

In the end, EQT would own between 65% and 70% of Zooplus.

“EQT has monitored Zooplus’s development for a long time, and we are impressed by its stellar customer base and the market leading positions in many markets, complemented by a strong offering,” said Johannes Reichel, partner and head of EQT Private Equity’s advisory team in Germany. “We have a long history in the pet care sector and can also offer Zooplus unique experience and know-how of technology and platform development, both from within the EQT platform — which includes our inhouse digitalization and sustainability specialist teams — and via EQT’s global network of industry experts.

“In line with EQT’s ’local-with-locals’ approach, we are poised to team up with Zooplus’ Munich-based management and all employees to take the company to the next level, while offering European pets and their owners the best possible products.”

Headquartered in Munich, Zooplus is a current leader in the European online pet products space. EQT plans to leverage its pet care sector experience, as well as technology development skills and strong financial support, to fuel growth for Zooplus.

This includes investing in long-term value creation and value propositions for its customers, supporting a first-class logistics and fulfillment infrastructure — a key for any e-commerce business — and talent acquisition. Support from EQT also includes portfolio expansions in a rapidly evolving market.

EQT Private Equity’s pet portfolio currently includes IVC Evidensia, a veterinary service provider in Europe, Musti Group, a Nordic omnichannel retailer of pet appliances, and Bought By Many, a pet insurance company based in the United Kingdom.

EQT stated this takeover offer is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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