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Portland-based animal health company Rarebreed Veterinary Partners announced Wednesday that it has acquired a controlling interest in Maine Veterinary Medical Center in Scarborough, the largest specialty veterinary practice in Maine and northern New England.
The investment is part of Rarebreed’s plan to triple the number of veterinary practices to at least 30 by the end of this year.
Rarebreed acquires a majority stake in veterinary companies and lets the employees own the rest. The practices, in turn, gain access to Rarebreed’s vast network, which gives them better drug buying power and better health benefits for their employees, said Dan Espinal, CEO and co-founder of Rarebreed.
The company announced in February that it had raised $ 42 million in two rounds of funding, including investments from Caremi Partners and Northwood Ventures.
The purchase of the Maine Veterinary Medical Center was completed on February 28 for an undisclosed amount.
Espinal said the veterinary medicine field is growing rapidly as consumers seek the same medical benefits for their pets as they are for themselves. By purchasing a specialty hospital, Rarebreed can offer comprehensive services under one roof, he said.
“Veterinarians are taught to refer animal patients to a specialist when they can’t tell what’s going on. The field of veterinary medicine is growing rapidly, ”he said. A big part of that growth is pet health insurance.
Animal health companies have grown rapidly. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent nearly $ 19 billion on veterinary care in 2019, up around 5 percent from spending in 2018.
The Maine Veterinary Medical Center, in turn, turned a corner. Dr. Alan Potthoff, who founded the center in 2007 and is its majority owner, is retiring. The center met with several potential partners prior to the agreement with Rarebreed.
“A major reason for choosing Rarebreed is their commitment to maintaining local control and providing justice to interested doctors and staff,” said Dr. Ezra Steinberg, the center’s chief of staff. “The ownership aspect of this agreement is really exciting as our people can participate in the economic upturn in the business – including equity and profit sharing.”
Steinberg said owners and their pets will also benefit because the practice will stay intact and staff will be happy.
“Business owners often come in and cut staff off and make changes to get staff to flee,” he said.
Since its inception in 2018, Rarebreed has grown to 450 employees and has sales of $ 40 million. This is the 11th practice on Rarebreed’s network, nine of which are in Maine.
The company plans to purchase nine more practices in the next three months, half of them in Maine. By the end of 2020, a total of 30 to 35 practices and around 700 employees are to be employed in these companies.
This center encompasses a 20,000 square meter hospital with advanced medical care for pets including neurology, internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, surgery, rehabilitation, and emergency and critical care. It also has Maine’s only veterinary MRI and fluoroscopy suite.
The center employs 150 veterinarians, including 21 specialists. These doctors and some employees will own part of the company.