Sovereign Capital Partners has been sold to Linnaeus Group to Mars Inc.

by / Wednesday, 11 July 2018 / Published in Press Release

Lincoln International represents Sovereign Capital Partners in its sale of Linnaeus Group to Mars Inc.

Having launched Lincoln’s UK Healthcare team in late 2017, this transaction firmly establishes Lincoln’s position in the UK Healthcare M&A market by delivering Sovereign Capital Partners (“Sovereign”) their largest ever sale and gross return.

Lincoln International, a leading global mid-market investment bank, is delighted to have represented Sovereign on its sale of Linnaeus Group (“Linnaeus”) to Mars Inc. Linnaeus will become a unit within Mars Petcare’s Veterinary Health Group.

Linnaeus is a leading UK provider of veterinary services and the market leader in the specialist referral-led segment. At the time of sale, Linnaeus operated five highly-respected, multidisciplinary referral centres, complemented by a thriving first opinion practice portfolio of 82 sites which are strategically located in key urban areas across the UK. The business is known for its highly-qualified team and employs more Diplomates than any other veterinary group in the UK.

Sovereign backed the original veterinary platform, Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, one of the leading specialist veterinary centres for small animals in the UK, in September 2014. Following the initial acquisition, Sovereign supported management Lynne Hill, CEO and Paul Coxon, FD in delivering 21 add-on acquisitions.

The transaction builds on Mars’ leading presence in the global pet care market. As the current market leader in veterinary services in the US by way of VCA, Banfield Pet Hospital, Blue Pearl and Pet Partners, the acquisition of Linnaeus provided its first step into the European veterinary services market.

Lincoln acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Sovereign and the shareholders of Linnaeus. Working closely with the management team, Lincoln prepared the Company for sale and then managed the entire transaction process to a successful completion, including leading the negotiation of price and transaction terms.

Neil Cox, Partner at Sovereign, said:

“Lincoln did a great job navigating the Linnaeus team through the sale process with Matt and his team providing clear advice and working with us to successfully articulate the key attractions of Linnaeus’ proposition to the market. The sale delivered Sovereign’s highest ever sale price, and best ever gross return, so we’re delighted with the result which was a fantastic outcome both for the shareholders and for the Linnaeus business going forward.”

Jonathan Kay, Director at Sovereign, said:

“Matt’s strong buyer relationships and Lincoln’s global network combined to enable us to connect with a wide and highly motivated global buyer population. Lincoln adapted the process as we progressed, which ultimately resulted in Linnaeus finding the perfect home for the business while maximising value for shareholders.”

Lynne Hill, CEO at Linnaeus, commented:

“The Lincoln team did a fantastic job supporting the management team and shareholders throughout the transaction, working tirelessly around the clock to deliver a top quality service and an excellent result. We are all delighted with the outcome.”

Matthew Lee, Lincoln’s UK Head of Healthcare, said:

“This represents a landmark deal for the newly established Lincoln UK Healthcare team and is a great example of what sector specialist knowledge and advice can deliver. The differentiated proposition of Linnaeus meant we were able to generate significant interest, from both domestic and international trade acquirers and the private equity community, including groups who previously had not looked at the UK market. This transaction is the fifth veterinary deal that UK Lincoln team members have worked on in recent years and further cements our position as a leading advisory team in the veterinary space.”

About Lincoln International

Lincoln International specializes in merger and acquisition advisory services, debt advisory services, private capital raising and restructuring advice on mid-market transactions. Lincoln International also provides fairness opinions, valuations and joint ventures and partnering advisory services on a wide range of transaction sizes. With twenty offices in the Americas, Asia and Europe, Lincoln International has strong local knowledge and contacts in key global economies. The firm provides clients with senior-level attention, in-depth industry expertise and integrated resources. By being focused and independent, Lincoln International serves its clients without conflicts of interest.

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