Friday 13th August 2021
Billion offer from the USA
Fund gets Zooplus shares galloping
The love of humans for animals is well known – and a billion dollar business. A US investment fund now also wants to earn money from this. For the German pet supplier Zooplus, they turn three billion on the table. The horses then go through with the shareholders.
The US investment fund Hellman & Friedman (H&F) buys the online pet supplies retailer Zooplus. H&F will offer Zooplus shareholders € 390 per share, the company announced. This brings the offer to around three billion euros. Both companies have already signed an investment agreement. The management of Zooplus supports the offer and will continue to lead the company. The offer caused a fireworks display on the stock market. The papers jumped by up to 43 percent to 398.20 euros and were thus above the Hellman offer.
According to its own information, Zooplus is the largest online retailer for pet supplies in Europe in terms of sales. The company is present in 30 European countries and has more than eight million customers – five million of them have ordered cat food or dog leashes more than twice from Zooplus in 2020. The offer includes products for dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, horses and “other furry and non-furry friends”.
Hellman & Friedman had already acquired several stakes in German companies in the past – including Axel Springer and AutoScout24. “With Hellman & Friedman we can show what we can do,” said company boss and founder Cornelius. Above all, he hopes that the takeover will generate investments in growth. In the current structure, these were not always possible on a large scale.
Investments are also necessary. Zooplus has benefited from the Corona crisis and the associated online boom and increased revenues by 18 percent last year to 1.8 billion euros, which had never been reached before, and is aiming for around 2.1 billion euros this year. But the market is highly competitive and competitors such as Fressnapf, Pets At Home from Great Britain and the jack-of-all-trades Amazon also grew significantly.
With the help of Hellman & Friedman, Patt now wants to invest in own brands, technology, marketing and logistics and no longer look so hard at “short and medium-term profits”. The potential is huge, said Patt. “A third of all Europeans have a pet.” It is estimated that the market for pet supplies will grow to 50 billion euros in Europe by 2030.
Among other things, the board of directors and the long-standing Zooplus investor Maxburg Beteiligungen have already tendered around 17 percent of the shares to Hellman & Friedman. “We believe that the company has found the right partner,” said Maxburg partner Moritz Greve.
If everything goes as planned, the takeover can take place this year. Thereafter, the company, which was founded in 1999, is to be taken off the stock exchange in order to master the realignment – still under the leadership of Patt.