German pet retailer scrap has more rounds to go

Boss, a Golden Retriever, plays in his pen at the 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Tarrytown, New York, U.S., June 12, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The private equity battle over Zooplus (ZO1G.DE) is not over yet. On Thursday, Hellman & Friedman matched Swedish rival EQT’s (EQTAB.ST) 470 euros a share offer, valuing the German pet food retailer at around 3.4 billion euros. That gives the U.S. buyout firm the upper hand, as it has the support of Zooplus’s board as well as shareholders representing 17%.

EQT will therefore probably have to up its bid to win over more than 50% of shareholders. Investors expect it to do so: Zooplus shares were trading at almost 482 euros on Friday morning, about 2.5% above the current bid. However, a recent wobble in the valuations of e-commerce stocks makes the fight look even more aggressive: both buyers are offering a 70% premium to Zooplus’s share price on Aug. 12. Yet German online retailer Zalando’s (ZALG.DE) shares are down by a fifth since the beginning of September. That raises the stakes even further. (By Aimee Donnellan)

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Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Oliver Taslic

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