JAB Holding has tightened its grip on the booming US pet care industry with a $1.4bn investment in Fairfax Financial Holdings’ pet insurance business, a week after US regulators raised concerns about the European private equity firm’s growing influence in the American veterinary market.
JAB has acquired stakes in two companies from Fairfax, taking over its interests in Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group and Pethealth in a deal announced on Monday.
The investment comes a week after regulators at the US Federal Trade Commission intervened in JAB Consumer Partners’ acquisition of SAGE Veterinary Partners, forcing the JAB investment vehicle to divest its veterinary clinics in Texas and California to prevent it from forming local monopolies. JAB must also give notice to the agency for future clinic acquisitions.
JAB began acquiring US veterinary clinics in 2019 and has since moved into the $2.8bn North American pet insurance market, challenging rivals such as Mars and Nestlé. In-force premiums in the sector more than doubled between 2018 to 2021, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (Naphia).
Stuck at home during lockdowns, Americans increased spending on pets, with ownership growing from 67 per cent to 70 per cent of US