Gulf-focussed private equity firm Aliph Capital has closed its first deal—a 100% buyout of the UAE-based The Pet Shop from Kasamar Holdings, a single-family office based in the Gulf region.
Aliph Capital, which was founded by Huda Al Lawati, closed the deal out of its maiden fund Aliph Fund I. Aliph is backed by the UAE’s state-owned investment firm ADQ from which it had recently raised $125 million.
Founded in 2011, The Pet Shop operates retail stores, a regional pet products ecommerce site and offers pet services including boarding, daycare, training, relocation and grooming.
Aliph Capital did not disclose the deal size, but said that apart from the buyout, it was also injecting “significant growth capital” into the business, which, it said will help it expand its presence across the UAE and the region. Apart from the UAE, the company is looking to enter Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The Pet Shop comprises three businesses—The PetShop, DubaiPetFood.com and Petsville.
As part of the takeover, Amr Hazem – the founder of Petsville – will take over as the Chief Executive Officer of The Pet Shop, and will lead business development and expansion.
Aliph Capital said the deal is in line with its “strategy of investing in high quality midsized” companies in the region and “accelerating their operational and digital transformation expansion plans.”
The UAE pet care market is the largest in the Gulf region and is forecast to experience strong future growth, with an anticipated CAGR of 9-11%. Its size is estimated to be around $361 million in 2020.
The surge in the UAE’s pet market is driven by growth in pet ownership; a young population with a growing expat component; changing local mindsets towards pet ownership and consumers waiting longer to start families. The wider GCC pet market is largely unpenetrated and highly fragmented making the region ripe for investment and consolidation.
Kasamar Holdings invests in regional private equity, global real estate and public securities.