Mars Inc Buys Pet Hospital Company VCA

Mars brands is a candy/confection and packaged food company that you might recognize better from its candy brands than its parent company name. Indeed, the company markets: Mars Bars (of course, or rather, used to market them), Milky Way bars, M&Ms, Skittles, Snickers, and Twix. If you do not have much of a sweet tooth, you might also recognize their non-confection brands like Combos snacks, Dolmio pasta sauch, and Uncle Ben’s Rice.

But while you may recognize any one or more of those brands, here is something you probably didn’t realize: Mars Brands also owns/markets Pedigree and Whiskas brand dog and cat food (respectively).

Yes, the same company that handles your Snickers and Skittles also handles Whiskas cat food.

Now, this is actually not that add when you look at business as a whole, but that is not why the company is in the news today. Today, Mars Inc has announced the acquisition o the pet hospital company VCA Inc in a $9.1 billion deal. Including $1.4 billion in debt, the deal has a value of about $93 a share.

BDT and Morgan Stanley were both advisers to Mars Inc on the deal, which now goes to shareholders for regulatory approval. The deal is expected to close some time in the third quarter. Barclays was the adviser to VCA on the other end.

BDT, of course, is a boutique advisory firm led by the former Goldman Sachs partner Byron Trott, a man who has been earned the reputation for being Warren Buffet’s favorite banker.

In response to the deal, Mars CEO Grant Reid issued a statement saying, “VCA is a leader across pet health care and the opportunity we see together—for pets, pet owners, veterinarians, and other pet care providers—is tremendous. We have great respect for VCA, with whom we share many common values and a strong commitment to pet care. Together, we will be able to provide even greater value, better service and higher quality care to pets and pet owners.”

In addition, VCA CEO Bob Antin comments, “Joining the Mars family of brands provides significant value to our stockholders while also preserving the Company’s values and a culture focused on investing in our people and facilities to promote excellence in pet care and long-term growth. Mars has a long-standing commitment to pet health, wellness and nutrition. We will work together every day to continue to provide the quality care and excellent service VCA is known for to our clients and their pet families.”