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Pet Food Giant Mars Purchases VCA Hospital Chains for $7.7 Billion

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No need to sugar coat an announcement from one of the world’s leading candy manufacturers – pets are big business! So much so in fact that Mars Incorporated, the iconic king of sugar and maker of such classics as M&Ms, 3 Musketeers, Maltesers (my fave!), and Snickers, as well as popular pet foods Whiskas and Pedigree, has bought into burgeoning animal hospital chain VCA Inc. to the tune of $7.7 billion. Yes, billion with a “B”!

It seems like a common-sense move for the manufacturing giant, as we treat our fur-kids as part of the family (in other words, spend big bucks on them). Mars recognized the growth in this market years ago and had already made forays into the pet care and food business acquiring brands Whiskas and Pedigree from Procter & Gamble Co.

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This recent investment in the care side of the business saw Mars pay a whopping 31% premium for shares of VCA Inc. and enjoy instant growth in their pet care base (currently consisting of Banfield Pet Hospital and BluePearl Veterinary Partners) by almost 800 animal hospitals throughout the US and Canada.

The candy company is now considered a big fish in the growing pond of corporate-owned pet hospitals and with this recent announcement, shares in VCA (traded under the name WOOF) leapt 29 percent in anticipation of the deal being sealed. Seems to be a WIN-WIN for big business and access to quality health care for our pets will always be a WIN for we as pet parents.


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