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Woolies to buy Absolute Pets in deal with Sanlam, management

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Compiled by Nick Wilson – News24

Woolworths is taking control of the privately-owned pet retail chain Absolute Pets for an undisclosed amount as it looks to gain a significant foothold in the pet care sector.

The 18-year-old Absolute Pets brand has a network of more than 150 stores across SA. Apart from selling pet products, it offers pet spas and online retailing. The Absolute Pets’ management team will remain in place.

Woolworths will buy almost 94% of Absolute Pets from Sanlam Private Equity and Absolute Pets management. Management will retain the rest of the shareholding for now, but this will also eventually be bought by the JSE-listed retailer over an agreed period after the completion of the first transaction.

Woolworths said in a statement that pet care was an “attractive and rapidly-developing market, with substantial growth potential”.

CEO Roy Bagattini said the two companies were a "natural fit".

“The Absolute Pets brand has earned the trust of pet owners across South Africa, and I am truly excited by the opportunities our partnership brings to leverage our joint strengths and expertise to provide even more customers with the best overall pet service and experience in the market.”

Absolute Pets CEO Stephen Warner said he and his management team were “delighted to be joining forces with a brand like Woolworths, whose vision and values are so closely aligned with our own”.

Shoprite opened its first standalone Petshop Science store two years ago and now has some 50 of these outlets.

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