Monday, May 29, 2023

CMA gets involved in Medivet acquisition of Barton vet practice

The Competition and Markets Authority has outlined preliminary concerns that the purchase of a dozen independent veterinary businesses by the Medivet Group, including Barton Companion Animal Services at Barton on Humber, could lead to worse quality, a more limited range of services or higher prices for pet owners in affected areas across England and Northern Ireland.

The CMA opened its investigation into Medivet’s purchase of seventeen independent veterinary businesses in March this year. Medivet is a large multinational veterinary group with over 400 veterinary centres across the UK that offer veterinary services primarily to small animals, including at 24-hour centres.

This is the fourth CMA investigation into acquisitions in the veterinary sector in the last two years and comes against a backdrop of an increasing number of transactions in which corporate groups purchase small, independent veterinary services across the UK.

Medivet’s purchases took place between September 2021 and September 2022. Medivet did not sufficiently publicise the purchases and chose not to notify the CMA at that time. The CMA identified potential concerns as part of its ongoing monitoring of mergers and acquisitions and opened initial investigations in March 2023.

Following these investigations, the CMA found competition concerns in relation to 12 transactions regarding the supply of veterinary services for small animals (typically household pets) in 34 local areas across England and Northern Ireland. The CMA also found competition concerns in relation to two of these twelve transactions regarding the supply of out-of-hours veterinary services to small animals in five local areas in England.

In each of these deals, the CMA found that the combined businesses would account for a significant proportion of the veterinary services offered in each location of concern. The CMA found no competition concerns arising for three purchases (The Hollies, Canine Healthcare and Withy Grove) and in April found that two purchases (Monument Vets and Stanhope Park) did not meet the statutory requirements to be investigated further.

Sorcha O’Carroll, Senior Director of Mergers, at the CMA, said: “There are around 17 million pet-owning homes across the UK with consumers spending around £4 billion a year on vets and other services for pets. Particularly while household budgets are already stretched, it’s crucial that we ensure continued access to good quality pet care at a fair price.

“We continue to receive concerns that independent vet practices being bought out by a single company could lead to a loss of competition at a local level resulting in higher prices or lower quality services.

“We will continue to monitor the impact of these types of deals so we can take the necessary action to ensure reduced competition won’t reduce the overall availability and quality of local veterinary services.”

Medivet has five working days to offer legally binding proposals to the CMA to address the competition concerns identified. The CMA would then have a further 5 working days to consider whether to accept these instead of referring the cases to Phase 2 investigations.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemichaving a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Latest news

Related news

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.