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VetPartners and vets' dog days

Illustration of dog treats in the shape of a dollar sign.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

BC Partners is mulling a nearly $3 billion sale of its U.K.-based platform VetPartners, Bloomberg reported.

Why it matters: As 2022 draws to a close, several veterinary practices reported to be in market have not yet sold. VetPartners' market check could inspire movement for other vet auctions, Axios reports.

State of play: At least five sponsor-backed platforms were reported to be in market or exploring options this year: Western Vet, Blue River Petcare, Encore Vet, CareVet and Southern Veterinary Partners.

What's happening: North Castle Partners, which kicked off a sale process for Encore Vet in April via Harris Williams, shelved the initial attempt before relaunching recently, sources tell Axios.

  • In this renewed effort, Encore is splitting its general practice and specialty veterinary units, sources say.
  • Bids were collected last month, one source says.

Yes, and: Sources say Partners Group-backed Blue River launched an auction this fall after hiring William Blair, as Axios reported in August — but one source tells Claire that process may be paused.

Be smart: In today's market, a slowdown shouldn't come as a surprise. LBO debt is more expensive, but seller valuation expectations are still reminiscent of 2021.

  • Sponsor-led health care services deals were down 10.6% this quarter from the same period last year, per PitchBook.

Yes, but: The sector's had one recent deal with a price tag that starts with the letter 'B' — VetCor's $1.1 billion-plus acquisition of People Pets & Vets in September.

  • Notably, former majority PP&V investor Cressey & Co. remains invested in the combination.

Hear any updates? Write to us.

North Castle declined to comment. Partners Group did not respond to a request for comment.

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