PE firm said to appoint banks to oversee £3bn auction of York vet group

The opening of the Beech House Veterinary Centre in Warrington this week.

BC Partners has reportedly appointed two banks to oversee the auction of York-based VetPartners.

The private equity firm has not officially announced the appointment of JP Morgan or Jefferies, as reported by Sky News, but the firm was said to be considering selling the veterinary business last November, when it valued the firm at £3bn. BC acquired VetPartners in 2018 for £720m, according to its website.

VetPartners, founded by vet Jo Malone as a  three-practice partnership in 2015, has expanded rapidly. It now operates nearly 500 sites in the UK. It opened its first international sites in Italy in 2019, and in France in 2021. By late 2022 since 2019 it expanded into Germany, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland and had 150 international sites. It currently employs more than 10,000 people in the UK and EU.

Around 250 of its sites are veterinary practices, the the firm also diversified to operate two veterinary nursing schools, a pet cremation services, an online retailer, a research dairy, laboratories and a locum agency. It works in small animal, equine, mixed and farm practices, and production animal health businesses.

This week it announced the opening of the £1.4m Beech House Veterinary Centre in Warrington.

Malone, who remains VetPartners’ chief executive, was not immediately available for comment, but at the firm’s 2022 congress in York on 7 December she said, “I strongly believe that in 10 years’ time there will be some global veterinary groups, and very much we want to be one of them. We don’t want to get swallowed up by another group because we want to be able to be masters of our own destiny and help ensure the culture and how we work remains, that we understand our business is a veterinary business. It’s not a financial business.”

BC Partners was not available for comment.


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