Mars buys hospitals in Europe

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The world's largest operator of veterinary hospitals is expanding into Europe by buying two veterinary care groups.

Mars Inc. officials announced in June plans to buy the Linnaeus Group Ltd., which has clinics and hospitals in 82 locations in the United Kingdom, and AniCura Holding AB animal hospital group, which has 200 hospitals in Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.

"Our veterinary business until now has been in the United States and Canada," Poul Weihrauch, president of Mars Petcare, said in one announcement. "Europe is the second-largest region in the world for pet care, and European pet care is expected to grow significantly over the coming years."

Mars is the world's largest veterinary health care provider. The company has almost 1,000 Banfield hospitals in the U.S. as well as hospitals under the Blue Pearl, Pet Partners, and VCA brands. Mars already employed about 10,000 veterinarians, among 50,000 veterinary professionals, before the sale.

Maureen Pratt, senior director of Mars Global Petcare, provided a statement that Mars Petcare is using the company's size for the good of pets, communities, and the veterinary profession.

Mars plans to buy Linnaeus from Sovereign Capital Partners and AniCura from Nordic Capital, Fidelio Capital, and other shareholders. The companies did not publish the prices in either sale.

Related JAVMA content:

Veterinarians Incorporated (March 1, 2017)