The fragmented nature of the veterinary services market continues to present a consolidation opportunity for businesses looking to scale and create integrated veterinary health platforms. The rate of consolidation has been intensifying in recent years as PE-backed platforms (IVC, Medivet, Vet Partners) and strategic trade players (Linnaeus, Pets at Home, CVS) compete aggressively to secure the best locations and acquire businesses that offer significant value-adding, in-house ancillary services.

IVC has once again been active, recently announcing the acquisition of Scarsdale Vets LLP. The transaction will further enhance its regional referral network, first-opinion sites, and farming/equine expertise.

Given that the seven largest veterinary groups now account for more than 40% of UK vet practices, it may not be too long before the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raises concerns about market monopolisation. While this could be viewed in a negative light, potentially slowing the growth of these major chains, it may perhaps lead to further M&A in the form of sizeable group disposals. We have seen how effective these plays can be in other healthcare service markets…