Banfield Owner to Buy BluePearl Chain

Mars Petcare adds a 54-hospital chain to its veterinary arm.

A Rottweiler puppy recovers from open-heart surgery at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Tacoma, Wash.

Laurie Singleton

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Mars Petcare, which owns Banfield Pet Hospital and food brands such as Royal Canin and Iams, has agreed to purchase the BluePearl Veterinary Partners chain for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals but is expected to close by year’s end, the companies announced Friday.

BluePearl, based in Tampa, Fla., operates 54 specialty and emergency care hospitals in 17 states.

“This agreement is a natural fit for us,” said Darryl Shaw, BluePearl’s CEO and co-founder. “Mars is an iconic, family-owned organization with a very significant commitment to pets. Once completed, this exciting development will enable us to make key investments in our people, facilities, systems and infrastructure, allowing us to continue to grow and drive up standards of veterinary care.”

The BluePearl leadership team will remain in place, spokeswoman Carrie O’Brion said.

BluePearl will operate independently from Mars and the more than 900 Banfield veterinary hospitals, O’Brion said. As it does now, BluePearl may get referral cases from Banfield veterinarians, she added.

The purchase fills a hole in Mars’ pet business.

“The high-quality, specialty and emergency care services offered by BluePearl will complement the rest of our Petcare portfolio beautifully,” said Global President Poul Weihrauch.

BluePearl started as Florida Veterinary Specialists in 1996 under brothers Neil Shaw, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, and Darryl Shaw, MBA, CPA. An expansion into New York and a merger with a Kansas City, Mo., hospital led to the BluePearl name and further growth.

Mars Petcare is based in Franklin, Tenn.

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