Bridges exits The Vet

We’re pleased to announce that Bridges has exited its investment in The Vet, the UK-based affordable veterinary services provider, to trade buyer CVS Group.

Bridges created The Vet in 2013 (in partnership with founder/CPO Jane Baldwin), recognising that while the number of pet owners was growing steadily, many were finding it hard to access quality veterinary services. Our goal was to create a differentiated proposition in the sector by offering accessible care in a bespoke, high-quality clinical environment, particularly within lower-income areas.

Today, the Vet operates eight large clinics across the UK, offering a comprehensive range of leading pet health services at competitive prices. With Bridges’ support, the business has continued to innovate and disrupt the market. For instance, during the pandemic, it was one of the first veterinary groups to offer an app-based telehealth service, giving customers access to care through the pandemic, while also being two-thirds cheaper than a face-to-face consultation. Indeed, over the last three years, the proportion of its customers who had never previously been to a vet averaged over 40 per cent – underlining our original impact thesis.

With more than 3.2 million households in the UK having acquired new pets since the start of the pandemic, this is market that will continue to grow – and we’re confident that The Vet will be able to continue providing high-quality, affordable care to even more pets under its new owners.

The sale of The Vet represents the third exit in as many months for our Sustainable Growth Funds, following on from the sale of World of Books to Livingbridge in June, and the sale of Wholebake to Elysian Capital in July. Collectively the three businesses have created about £170 million of enterprise value during Bridges’ period of ownership.

Chris Jessop, Chairman at The Vet, said:
“Since 2013, The Vet has established itself as one of the most exciting veterinary platforms in the UK. Its differentiated services delivered from state-of-the-art centres across the UK, coupled with industry-leading digital engagement capabilities, has resulted in an exceptionally strong commercial performance over recent years. Now as part of the CVS Group, the business will be able to keep up its strong momentum and make an even wider range of services available to pet owners. The Vet leadership team is very grateful to Bridges, who have been an outstanding partner for the business. Their highly engaged and supportive approach, coupled with their extensive experience of roll-out strategies, has been instrumental in helping us to drive strong organic growth. They have throughout shared our clear commitment to delivering accessible high-quality veterinary care. As Chair, I cannot speak more highly of them and the way we have worked together.”