Rover agrees to $2.3 billion go-private deal with Blackstone

By Abigail Summerville

(Reuters) -Pet care company Rover Group on Wednesday said private equity firm Blackstone will take it private in a $2.3 billion all-cash deal.

The company’s shareholders will receive $11 per share at a premium of 29.4% from the last close price.

Blackstone approached Rover directly about a potential deal without the company being up for sale, people familiar with the matter said. Rover said that Blackstone had agreed to a 30-day “go-shop” period that allows Rover to consider superior offers from other interested parties.

Blackstone has tried to stay clear of competitive sale processes by putting companies in play itself. It did so this year with software provider Cvent and eBay-backed online classifieds group Adevinta.

Blackstone agreed to buy Rover without any debt commitments, but plans to add debt on the company down the line, the sources said.

Rover is an online marketplace where pet care providers offer services such as dog walking and in-home pet sitting. It went public via a special-purpose acquisition company in 2021.

Pet spending is typically resilient in an economic downturn as owners regard their pets as members of the family and prioritize premium pet food, care and veterinary services.

From Rover’s inception in 2011 through the end of September 2023, more than 93 million services have been booked by 4 million-plus pet parents on Rover with more than 1 million pet care providers paid across North America and Europe, according to the company.

Rover shares rose 29% to close at $10.96 on Wednesday.

The company said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

(Reporting by Abigail Summerville in New YorkEditing by Matthew Lewis)