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Prospect Partners acquires AESC

Prospect Partners LLC has bought Knoxville, Tennessee-based Animal Emergency Specialty Center, a specialty veterinary hospital. No financial terms were disclosed.


CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prospect Partners, LLC, a leading private equity firm investing in smaller lower-middle-market companies, today announced that it has acquired Animal Emergency Specialty Center (AESC), a specialty veterinary hospital in Knoxville, Tenn. AESC becomes the first subsidiary of Innovetive Petcare, Inc., a veterinary hospital operator led by animal health industry executives Mark Ziller, President and CEO, and Paul Covill, Executive Vice President, who Prospect Partners backed in the MBO.

The leading specialty/emergency room veterinary hospital in the Knoxville area, AESC is a referral-based practice focusing on surgical procedures, oncology, and emergency services for small companion animals. AESC was founded in 1991 by veterinary surgeon Mitch Rosenzweig, who joins Innovetive Petcare’s management team and will continue practicing medicine at AESC. Innovetive Petcare will provide AESC a range of operational support services.

“AESC is a successful and growing specialty veterinary surgical center with an excellent team, and is a great model for other clinics,” said Maneesh Chawla, a Principal of Prospect Partners. “Mark and Paul are talented, proven managers with a deep understanding of the animal health industry and veterinary hospital operations. They are absolutely committed, as is Prospect Partners, to investing in and building each animal practice and to creating a highly successful hospital network.”

Seasoned veterinary executives, Mr. Ziller and Mr. Covill have worked together for more than 15 years. Mr. Ziller’s multiple successful startups include two veterinary companies. TW Medical Veterinary Supply, a full-line distributor of veterinary pharmaceuticals, surgical supplies and equipment, was later purchased by the $1.5 billion animal health distribution business Lextron/Animal Health International. Mr. Ziller also launched The Pet Blood Bank, Inc., a provider of canine blood infusion products.

Prior to Innovetive Petcare, Mr. Covill held various roles at TW Medical Veterinary Supply, eventually running a $20 million vet and over-the-counter pet products division at Lextron/Animal Health International.

“Innovetive Petcare’s mission is to run a great business so veterinarians and their staff can focus on practicing great medicine. We will provide a suite of best-of-breed business services to support and grow the clinic, while allowing the owners to reduce business risk through financial diversification, liquidity, and, when they are ready, an exit strategy,” said Mr. Ziller. “Through Prospect Partners, we have access to the resources and capital we need to successfully acquire and invest in clinics, provide effective operational support, and develop a superior hospital network that implements best practices in management and animal care.”

Added Mr. Covill: “Because vets typically have limited capital and operational resources, joining the Innovetive Petcare network gives them professional management not usually available to the owner of a single practice.”

Going forward, Innovetive Petcare seeks to acquire other profitable general practice and specialty/emergency veterinary hospitals.

Innovetive Petcare becomes the 10th platform company in Prospect Partners’ $200 million third fund, Prospect Partners III, L.P. Overall, since 1998, Prospect Partners has built 46 unique platforms through the acquisitions of more than 115 businesses.

Strong History With Outside Partners
Developing relationships with outside partners – including veteran operating executives and independent equity sponsors – has always played a key role in helping Prospect Partners build successful platform companies. More than one-third of Prospect Partners’ portfolio – 17 of 46 platforms, and over 50 transactions in all when including subsequent “add-ons” made by these companies – resulted from partnerships with seasoned outside specialists.

About Prospect Partners, LLC
Prospect Partners is a leading private equity firm investing in smaller lower-middle-market companies, managing $470 million across three funds. A highly experienced and active investor, Prospect Partners focuses exclusively on management-led leveraged recapitalizations and acquisitions of niche market leaders with revenues typically under $75 million. Since 1998, Prospect Partners has invested opportunistically nationwide in more than 115 companies in widely diverse niche manufacturing, distribution, and specialty service markets. Based in Chicago, Prospect Partners also has an office in Menlo Park, Calif.