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UK’s CMA Looks Into Veterinary Group Acquisition

 |  May 1, 2022

The CMA opened its investigation into VetPartners acquisition of Goddard Holdco Limited – which trades as Goddard Veterinary Group – in March 2022.

Both firms are providers of veterinary services. VetPartners, owned by the private equity firm BC Partners, operates about 550 sites across the UK, while Goddard, a family-owned business, operates 47 sites in Greater London.

The CMA notes this deal takes place against a backdrop of a small number of corporate groups, including VetPartners, buying up large numbers of independent practices and local chains of vets across the UK.

The regulator says it has received a number of complaints in recent years about higher prices or lower quality services as a result of multiple vets’ practices in the same local area being owned by a single company.

It notes that VetPartners, like most of these corporate groups, not only owns and operates local vet practices, but also has broader activities within the veterinary sector, owning other businesses including diagnostic laboratories, locum agencies, and crematoria.

Following its phase one investigation into VetPartners’ acquisition of Goddard, the CMA has found the merger raises competition concerns in 11 local areas across Greater London.

The CMA’s investigation found the combined businesses would account for a “significant proportion” of veterinary services in each of these areas.

While veterinary practices owned by VetPartners and Goddard currently compete for customers at each of these locations, the CMA is concerned the combined businesses would not face sufficient competition after the merger.

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