EQT IX has agreed on a partnership with Hellman & Friedman regarding the voluntary public takeover offer for zooplus, the leading online pet platform in Europe measured by sales. The increased offer price of 480 EUR per zooplus share in cash values the company at approx. EUR 3.5 billion.
Founded as a German start-up in 1999, zooplus caters to more than 8 million pet parents across Europe, with sales totalling more than EUR 1.8bn in the 2020 financial year. The company’s product range includes renowned international brands, popular local brand names as well as high-quality, exclusive own brand lines for pet food, accessories, care products, toys and much else for pets.
On 13 August 2021, Zorro Bidco, a holding company currently controlled by funds advised by H&F, announced its intention to launch a voluntary public takeover offer for zooplus, and most recently on 7 October 2021 it further increased the cash consideration offered to the zooplus shareholders from EUR 460 to EUR 470 per zooplus share. In doing so, Zorro Bidco matched the competing takeover offer published on 6 October 2021 by Pet Bidco GmbH, an investment vehicle controlled by EQT IX.
With support of its partner EQT IX, H&F has decided today to again increase the cash consideration under the offer and to present the increased offer as a final proposal to zooplus’ shareholders. Subject to required regulatory approvals and other conditions, EQT plans to become a jointly controlling partner with equal governance rights in a parent of Zorro Bidco following settlement of the increased offer.
The Milbank team, which already advised EQT IX on its competing takeover offer published on 6 October 2021, is led by Steffen Oppenlaender and Christoph Rothenfußer (both Corporate/M&A, Munich) and includes Norbert Rieger (Corporate M&A, Munich), Alexander Rinne (Antitrust and Foreign Investment, Munich), Thomas Kleinheisterkamp (Tax, Munich), Apostolos Gkoutzinis (Capital Markets, London), Sebastian Reiner-Pechtl, Pascal Härdtner, Maximilian Pechtl, Manuel Bogenreuther, Svenja Tauchmann (all Corporate/M&A, Munich) as well as Nils Bremer, Stefanie Gschoßmann and Alexander Zyrewitz (all Antitrust and Foreign Investment, Munich).