A consortium of private equity firms led by London-based BC Partners Ltd will acquire pet supplies retailer PetSmart in the biggest leveraged buyout of the year.
PetSmart has been under pressure by activist investors to sell itself and Sunday finally agreed to the $8.7 billion sale.
The sale must still gain shareholder and regulatory approval, will be financed in part with debt, and is expected to close in the first half of 2015.
PetSmart had decided to sell itself as far back as this summer, and its board agreed to this deal unanimously. The pet-supplies retailer, with more than 1,300 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, is the largest in the U.S. But it has increasingly faced competition from online pet retailers as well as general retailers like Wal-Mart Stores, Target, Amazon, and supermarkets that have increased their pet-supply sections.