Business Maverick


Woolworths finally barks up the right tree at the Competition Tribunal to acquire Absolute Pets

Woolworths finally barks up the right tree at the Competition Tribunal to acquire Absolute Pets
(Photo: Facebook / absolutepets) | A Woolworths sign on a building in Cape Town.(Photo: Dwayne Senior / Bloomberg via Getty Images) | (Photo: Facebook / absolutepets)

The food and clothing retailer’s bid to acquire Absolute Pets has been given the green light.

Months after Woolworths revealed its intention to buy a 93% stake in Absolute Pets from Sanlam Investment Management, the retail giant has announced that the deal has been given the go-ahead by the Competition Tribunal.

The announcement comes three weeks after the Competition Commission cleared the deal, subject to conditions which include establishing new stores in South Africa and creating new permanent employment opportunities to service these stores. 

The merged entity will have to set up an employee share ownership programme and financially support the effective participation and expansion of black-owned small to medium enterprises that operate within the Woolworths pet-care products’ supplier base.

The transaction became effective on 1 April 2024.

Absolute Pets is South Africa’s largest specialist pet products retailer, with 157 stores selling food for dogs, cats and other small pets, as well as pet accessories, toys, hygiene, clothing, health and travel items. 

Some outlets also provide pet-related services such as pet spas and grooming. 

In a company statement on Wednesday, Woolworths said: “The acquisition of Absolute Pets accelerates Woolworths’ pet strategy by bringing together two strategically aligned businesses, and positions the group to lead as the end-to-end pet care destination of choice in South Africa.”

Welcoming the approval, Woolworths Group CEO Roy Bagattini said pet care is a fast-growing business and is also important to Woolies customers. 

“Woolies pet parents see their pets as integral family members and our teams are excited to get to work on delivering on the opportunities this partnership will provide, through even more exceptional quality products and service, to even more customers.”

Woolworths said Absolute Pets and its existing pet care business, WPet, will form part of Woolworths Ventures, a newly created internal unit focused on accelerating and delivering on the full potential of various strategic growth initiatives across the business.

Stephen Warner, Absolute Pets CEO, and the current Absolute Pets management team will continue to operate and lead the business under the Absolute Pets brand. BM


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