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Cramer names the 'humanization of pets' as the greatest investing theme in the market

Jim Cramer has always said that the humanization of pets is one of the greatest investing themes out there.

But he still didn't see it coming when privately held food giant Mars paid a huge premium for Veterinary Centers of America, known as VCA.

VCA shareholders received a 31 percent gain on Monday with Mars' $7.7 billion bid. Mars plans to pair the business with its Banfield pet hospital chain to create a dominant health care company for companion animals.

However, Cramer warned that this doesn't mean the rest of the pet players could have the same fortune.

"I don't think the other companies in the space are takeover targets, although I do think that Idexx can work its way higher over time," the "Mad Money" host said.





VCA Antech Inc., is an LA-based chain of vet clinics and hospitals that is now nationwide and growing.
Robinson Chavez | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
VCA Antech Inc., is an LA-based chain of vet clinics and hospitals that is now nationwide and growing.

As pets have moved from the basement to sharing the bed with their owners, spending has increased in the category. U.S. households own 77.8 million dogs and 85.8 million cats.

Even better, pet care tends to be a cash business, so business owners don't have to deal with reimbursement from the government. There also aren't a significant amount of large scale companies with extensive exposure to the sector.

The top players are Idexx Laboratories, which does diagnostics for veterinarians, and Zoetis, which was a spin-off of Pfizer and specializes in livestock and pet health care.

Cramer was less enthusiastic about pet food companies because of pricing competition and because of the competition from Amazon.

Ultimately, Mars' bid for VCA made a lot of sense to Cramer. Anything that makes a company less dependent on pet food and more dependent on animal health is a winner in his book.

"If your dog accidentally eats a bag full of M&Ms — the company's largest marquee product — and needs to be taken to the vet, Mars now gets you coming and going," Cramer said.


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