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Woolworths completes acquisition of Absolute Pets

| Store Openings

By Jacqueline Mackenzie – Business Live

High-end food and clothes retailer Woolworths​​ has completed the acquisition of Absolute Pets after all the conditions to the deal were fulfilled.

Woolworths announced its intention to acquire 93.45% of the shares in the privately owned pet retailer from Sanlam Private Equity and Absolute Pets management in October 2023.

The remaining management-retained shareholding will be acquired by Woolworths over an agreed period, after the completion of the transaction.

Woolworths said on Wednesday all suspensive conditions, including approval by the Competition Tribunal, had been fulfilled and the transaction became effective on April 1.

Woolworths believes pet care is a fast-growing market with “substantial growth potential”.

Its expansion into pet care means it will compete with Checkers, which owns a smaller chain of pet stores called Petshop Science, as competition between the two retailers for the upper-middle-class consumer hots up. 

More expensive and specialised pet food brands are not sold in grocery stores and are available only in specialist stores or at veterinarians. This means if retailers want to capture the upper-end pet market, they need to own a specialised chain. Pet ownership increased during the Covid-19 pandemic as people spent more time at home. 

“It is also an increasingly important category for Woolworths customers, who consider their pets an integral part of their families,” the company, valued at about R58bn on the JSE, said when it announced the planned acquisition.

“The acquisition of Absolute Pets will accelerate Woolworths’ pet strategy by bringing together two strategically aligned businesses and position the Woolworths group well to become the end-to-end pet care destination of choice in SA,” it said previously.

Absolute Pets has about 150 stores across SA, including online, pet spas and pet services. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

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