Deal: PE Firm EQT Bids $3.9B For German Pet Food E-Tailer Zooplus

Zooplus logo

EQT, a Swedish private equity firm, has bid to buy Zooplus, a German online retailer of pet food and supplies listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It’s offered 470 euros of cash per Zooplus share, valuing the pet food e-tailer at 3.36 billion euros ($3.94bn).

  • The offer represents a 69% premium to Zooplus’s closing price on the 12th of August, the last day before another private equity firm announced a bid for the company. US-based Hellman & Friedman first offered 3 billion euros ($3.5bn) then later raised its offer to 3.29 billion euros ($3.85bn). Now it’s been outbid by EQT’s higher bid.
  • Zooplus also entered buyout talks with US-based KKR & Co. after Hellman & Friedman had penned its offer. But, the PE rival to Hellman later terminated the talks after Hellman raised its bid from 3 billion euros to 3.29 billion euros.
  • With the competing bids, the final decision rests on a vote by Zooplus’s shareholders, requiring majority acceptance for any bid to be accepted. As usual, with shareholders always chasing after the largest offer, EQT’s bid would likely be accepted over Hellman & Friedman’s given the slightly higher price.
  • Also, EQT, Swedish, is based in the same continental region as Zooplus’s home base of Germany, Europe. Both countries are also member states of the European Union (EU), implying business synergies if a Swedish PE firm acquires Zooplus compared to an American firm.
  • Zooplus reported 1.8 billion euros ($2.1bn) in sales and EBITDA of 63 million euros ($74mn) in 2020. That makes EQT’s offer a 1.8x multiple to sales and 62x EBITDA, a usual multiple with tech acquisitions.
Zooplus is a hot acquisition target thanks to a business that’s boomed in the Covid pandemic’s aftermath. People have flocked towards online purchases of pet food and supplies as the pandemic discouraged in-person shopping and may retain that shopping habit on towards. Thus, Zooplus is projected for solid growth in the coming years, making it a PE firm’s ideal target.
  • Zooplus serves over 8 million customers in 30 European markets. It’s akin to the “Chewy” of Europe, Chewy the American pet food and supplies e-tailer with $7bn in annual sales and a market cap of $29bn (NYSE: CHWY).

                                        

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