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Mars to acquire Synlab's veterinary lab diagnostics unit

Kimberly Chin
Aug 14, 2023
Illustration of a cat with an x-ray view of its stomach revealing a dollar sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Mars Inc., the U.S. confectionary and pet food giant, agreed to acquire Synlab Vet, a veterinary laboratory diagnostics provider.

Why it matters: Pet care is a burgeoning area for investors and strategics alike, with long-term prospects in the "humanization" of pets and the recurring revenue over a pet's lifespan.

Details: The veterinary unit of German medical diagnostics company Synlab Group (FSE: SYAB) will become a part of Mars Petcare's Science and Diagnostics division.

  • Lazard was the financial adviser for Mars, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was its legal adviser.
  • Financial terms weren't disclosed, though Synlab says its vet division accounted for less than 1% of total group revenue in 2022.

What they're saying: "This transaction is complementary to our existing diagnostics business and will bring additional reach across Europe," Mars science and diagnostics president Nefertiti Greene said in prepared remarks.

Catch up fast: The McClean, Va.-based company behind such brands as Pedigree, Royal Canin and Whiskas has been actively expanding its pet care portfolio, both in veterinary care and nutrition.

  • In June, the company acquired Heska Corp., a Loveland, Colo.-based veterinary diagnostic and specialty product provider, in a deal valued over $1 billion.
  • In February, the company completed its acquisition of Champion Petfoods, the Alberta, Canada, pet food maker behind brands Orijen and Acana.

Plus, Mars has made investments in a number of startups through its Companion Fund, including in fresh cat-food maker Smalls' $19 million Series B round and pet food startup Bundle x Joy.

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