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KKR to acquire animal health firm Argenta for about $100 million

Trading information for KKR & Co is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - KKR & Co Inc said on Wednesday it will buy a majority stake in animal health firm Argenta Limited, as the pet and animal care industry continues to draw private sector interest.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a person familiar with the matter said KKR agreed to pay around $100 million for its Argenta stake.

KKR will acquire its stake in New Zealand-based Argenta from Tomlinson Group, which will become a significant minority shareholder, a statement said.

Founded in 2006, Argenta provides animal-focused contract research and manufacturing for pharmaceutical companies across the United States, Europe and New Zealand.

Argenta plans to use KKR’s investment to expand its research and development as well as its clinical regulatory services in Europe and the United States, Ben Russell, the company’s chief executive officer, said in an interview.

KKR’s investment was made out of its Health Care Strategic Growth Fund, which raised $1.45 billion from investors in 2017.

Private equity interest in the pet and animal care sector has grown due to significant household spending on animal diet, health, and exercise.

KKR currently owns PetVet Care Centers, a Westport, Connecticut-based network of pet clinics. In 2018, the buyout firm sold its remaining stake in Pets at Home Group, a UK-based pet retailer supplier it bought for 955 million pounds in 2010.

Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes

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