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…
“We’re delighted that Scarsdale have chosen to join us on our journey to develop a fantastic network of clinics and hospitals across the country, united in our common desire to deliver first class veterinary care, both to first opinion and referral clients,” comments Paul Cowling, UK CEO