Petco and PatSmart are the two largest chain of full-line pet stores in the United States, together accounting for about 30% of sales of pet products in this country. Now the two companies are in the very beginning of talks exploring a possible merger that would make it by far the largest retail chain of pet products.
Petco and PetSmart have flirted with merging and outright acquisitions over the years but the two privately-owned companies have seen their ownership change a few times recently themselves. The merger talks between Petco and PetSmart are still in embryonic stages but if the merger succeeds, the effects of having one mega-chain of pet products could have wide reaching consequences for the aquarium hobby at large.
Neither Petco nor PetSmart have much mindshare with the marine aquarium hobby, as only a small number of Petco stores even carry live saltwater animals. But both companies carry more than enough marine aquarium products to have the combined clout to make demands on manufacturers of entry-level marine aquarium equipment and accessories.
The marine aquarium industry has seen its share of mergers and acquisitions in the last few years, with Petco acquiring Drs. Fosters and Smith including our beloved LiveAquaria. The year prior, Ecotech Marine and Aqua Illumination merged as a single company which caused quite a stir the diehard hobbyist who feared we’d see consolidation and fewer market choices.
However both the Petco acquisition of Drs. Foster and Smith and the merger between Ecotech and AI has resulted in few changes for customers of the former, and users of the latter. So for the most part the substantive changes of these mergers has resulted in only clerical differences but a mostly improved customer experience.
If the Petco and PetSmart deal does go through, it would be a while until both companies could integrate enough to ‘make moves’ in the marine aquarium hobby. The rise in popularity of saltwater tanks and live coral reef aquariums will surely not go unnoticed by the suits at a possible PetSmartCo but we’ll have to wait and see if this deal actually goes through, and what, if any, changes they make that affect our marine aquarium hobby. [Reuters]