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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Veterinary hospital operator Alliance Animal Health has secured an investment from private equity firm L Catterton at a valuation of between $750 million and $800 million, Axios has learned from four sources.

Why it matters: Private equity in 2021 has shown an insatiable appetite for veterinary care.

Details: Existing shareholder LightBay Capital will remain an investor in Alliance.

  • The Stamford, Conn.-based company marketed $39 million of pro forma adjusted EBITDA in its sale process, sources said. That implies Alliance has grown EBITDA about fivefold since LightBay backed the business in June 2019, one person added.
  • Alliance is an owner and partner to veterinarians at animal hospitals in 15 states and growing, emphasizing medical independence and the benefit of shared resources (e.g., purchasing power).
  • L Catterton has a long history of investing in both pet and consumer health companies.

The big picture: Pet ownership is increasing, and investors view the vet care sector as recession resistant.

  • The U.S. government substantiated this notion when it declared vet practices essential businesses during the pandemic, and the industry proved adept at converting to a drop-off and pick-up model.
  • EBITDA multiples in the high teens into the mid-20x range are the new normal, although it's complicated a bit by a raft of bolt-on acquisitions.

What we’re watching: The possibility of 2022 IPOs from industry giants.

  • National Veterinary Associates, backed by JAB Investors, was said to be mulling a public offering earlier this year. More recently, it plunged deeper into specialty vet care with two $1 billion-plus deals, buying Ethos Veterinary Health and SAGE Veterinary Centers.
  • Europe's IVC Evidencia was expected to seek a public listing before Silver Lake invested earlier this year, valuing it at approximately €12.3 billion (over $13.8 billion).
  • Also on the IPO waiting list is Pathway Vet Alliance, owned by TSG Consumer Partners.

Go deeper

Scoop: GTCR nears $1.3 billion deal for electronic health records company Experity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Private equity firm GTCR is nearing a deal to acquire Experity, the country's largest electronic health records company for the urgent care market, from Warburg Pincus, four sources tell Axios.

What's happening: The transaction is expected to value the company at between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion, translating to an EBITDA multiple in the high teens, although no deal has yet been signed.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to affirmative action at Harvard, UNC

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging the consideration of race in the college admissions processes.

Why it matters: The conservative high court's ruling could determine the future of affirmative action in higher education.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.