Pets At Home has sold its specialist veterinary business for £100million to rival Linnaeus Group, as it looks to switch the focus of its business.
The offloading of the specialist centres, which provide medicine and surgery for the most complex cases, including neurosurgery and oncology for pets, is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
The pet retailer has been pushing to offer more services inside its warehouse-style stores, with services including grooming parlours, while online services include dog walking and cat sitting bookings.
New research from OnBuy.com claims that while 11 per cent of people plan to spend £100 or more on their pets for Christmas, only nine per cent will fork out the same amount of cash for their partners over the festive period.
It’s a deal: Pets At Home has sold its specialist veterinary business for £100m to rival Linnaeus Group
The five sites being sold by Pets at Home to Linnaeus, which is part of Mars Petcare, are: Dick White Referrals in Cambridgeshire, Anderson Moores in Hampshire, Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Cheshire, Eye Vet in Cheshire and Veterinary Specialists Scotland in Livingston, Scotland.
The sale comes a day after the company revealed it had snapped up telephone and video appointment vets business The Vet Connection, as more pet owners turn to online services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Peter Pritchard, chief executive of Pets At Home said: ‘This disposal does not deviate from our core focus of providing customers with affordable, convenient, engaging and flexible pet care solutions through our growing online platform.’
He also pointed out that Pets At Home already has 440 First Opinion veterinary practices, which tend to be found inside stores.
Last week, the retailer warned of an uncertain outlook as a result of England’s second lockdown, but added that it had continued to perform well in the current quarter amid high demand for dog food, cat litter and flea collars.
The £100million sale of Pets at Home’s specialist veterinary arm includes £80million on deal completion and a deferred cash payment of £20million based on certain financial milestones being met.
Mr Pritchard said: ‘Linnaeus is a well-regarded operator of veterinary practices with a strong and established track record of practice management.
‘We hold them in high regard, and they will be a great home for our highly-skilled colleagues in the specialist group, underpinned by an ongoing commitment to specialist multi-disciplinary veterinary care, supported by Mars.’
Shares in FTSE 250-listed Pets at Home are down 0.86 per cent or 3.6p to 415.80p today. A year ago, the share price stood at 240.80p.
What a treat: New research from OnBuy.com claims that 11% of people plan to spend £100 or more on their pets for Christmas