Woolies’ acquisition of Absolute Pets bedded down

A woman walks past an outlet of retailer Woolworths in Cape Town. Photo: Reuters

A woman walks past an outlet of retailer Woolworths in Cape Town. Photo: Reuters

Published Apr 3, 2024


Woolworths Holdings announced yesterday all the conditions for its acquisition of 93.45% of the shares in privately owned pet retailer Absolute Pets Proprietary, from Sanlam Private Equity and Absolute Pets management, had been met.

Woolworths had initially announced the deal in October. “Shareholders are advised all suspensive conditions, including approval by the South African Competition Tribunal, have been fulfilled and the transaction is effective from 1 April 2024,” the grocery chain said.

It said pet care was a rapidly developing market with substantial growth potential.

“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,” a statement said.

Woolworths CEO Roy Bagattini said they welcomed the approval by the Competition Tribunal.

“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,” he said.

Absolute Pets, in addition to the group’s 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.

Woolies’ acquisition represents another move by South Africa’s major retailers into the fast-growing pet sector.

For example, the Shoprite Group took its Petshop Science brand online last year, and in just one year to July 2023, Petshop Science had opened 22 stores around the country. Shoprite opened its first stand-alone Petshop Science stores in 2021.