August Equity sells veterinary practice operator VetPartners

London, UK – 7th August 2018 – VetPartners (“the Company”), a leading veterinary practice operator owned by August Equity is to be sold to funds advised by BC Partners LLP (“BC Partners”), a leading international investment firm. The parties have reached an agreement that will see BC Partners acquire a majority stake from funds managed by the Ares Management, L.P. (“Ares”) (NYSE: ARES) Credit Group, August Equity and co-investors. Ares will reinvest alongside BC Partners and the management team, led by CEO Jo Malone, will also invest in the Company. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Founded in 2015, VetPartners is one of the UK’s leading operators of small animal, mixed and equine veterinary practices. The Company owns more than 310 veterinary clinics across the UK providing services to pets, equine and production animals. VetPartners is differentiated by a vet-centric culture and a consistently high quality service to its customers. It has grown rapidly over the last three years, adding an average of 70 clinics to the group annually while sustaining strong like-for-like top-line growth, generating revenues of over £250m in the year to June 2018.

BC Partners and Ares will support VetPartners’ CEO Jo Malone and her management team in the execution of their ambitious growth plans for the Company, which include growing its customer base, continuing to acquire attractive veterinary practices in the UK and seeking to expand internationally.

David Lonsdale, Partner of August Equity, commented:
“VetPartners has been a very successful investment for our funds and validates August’s strategy of identifying first mile opportunities in secular markets and building market leading UK businesses of scale. We wish the management team, BC Partners and Ares continued success with the next stage of their growth.”

Richard Oliver, Managing Director of European Direct Lending at Ares Management, commented:
“We are pleased to be continuing our relationship with VetPartners, a business that we first backed with August Equity in 2016 when it had fewer than forty clinics. Since then, we have been impressed by Jo and the team’s absolute commitment to the business and what they have achieved within the veterinary sector. We look forward to partnering with BC to support the next exciting chapter of VetPartners’ growth and development.”

Jean-Baptiste Wautier, Managing Partner at BC Partners, commented:
“We have tremendous respect for Jo and her team and what they have achieved so far. VetPartners is a unique business whose rapid growth in recent years is a clear indication of the future potential for the Company. We look forward to partnering with Jo, her team and Ares to help VetPartners pursue an ambitious growth strategy, fueled by organic growth, M&A and the opportunity to expand into new geographies in Europe.”

Jo Malone, CEO of VetPartners, commented:
“We are thrilled that BC Partners are supporting us during the next phase of our growth. They bring experience, knowledge and renewed enthusiasm for the ongoing growth of our company. They also are very supportive of how we want to continue to develop our business, putting our people at the heart of what we do! We wanted to find the right future shareholder for the group and in BC we know we have the perfect partner.

I would also like to thank both Ares and August for their support and contribution during what has been a highly successful period of growth for the company. Together we have acquired more than 300 veterinary clinics and established one of the largest and most successful veterinary groups in the UK. We are very well positioned to continue to build and develop our business and I am delighted that Ares will continue to be a significant shareholder in the business alongside BC Partners.”

BC Partners was advised by Linklaters and Dickson Minto on legal documentation and due-diligence, PWC on financial, commercial and tax due diligence and Kirkland & Ellis on financing.

Barclays served as advisor to Ares, August Equity and Management, supported by Hogan Lovells (Ares) and DLA (August Equity) on legal, KPMG on financial, and Kirkland & Ellis on tax matters.

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