The UK’s second largest pet retailer Jollyes Retail Group has been acquired in an MBO backed by mid-market private equity firm Kester Capital.

The private equity investment will enable Jollyes to “significantly expand” its network of UK stores, which currently consists of 70 outlets across the country.

Founded in 1935, Jollyes also produces its own range of branded products, including K9 and Lifestage brands, and has recently launched grooming and veterinary services in-store.

Following the acquisition, David Hutchinson will take over as CEO, having previously held senior executive roles in a number of retail businesses in the UK and overseas, most recently at Greencross Limited, Australia’s leading pet retailer and veterinary services provider.

Hutchinson commented: “Jollyes is a fantastic retail business showing consistent growth and providing its customers and their pets with a wide range of products and services. I look forward to building on the great work of the previous owners and to continuing to provide the best value one-stop pet care offer in the market.”

Adam Maidment, founding partner, Kester Capital said: “We have been very impressed by Jollyes strong pet retail offering and congratulate Nick on what he has achieved. We are looking forward to working with David and the team at Jollyes and supporting the business in its growth ambitions.”

Cavendish Corporate Finance advised on the sale. Kester was advised by Cornerstone Corporate Finance, OC&C and Grant Thornton.

Jonathan Buxton, partner at Cavendish Corporate Finance, said: “The Jollyes transaction shows that, despite the headlines, there is still considerable value in UK specialist ‘bricks and mortar’ retail, especially where, like Jollyes, there is proof of a strong consumer following.”