Petco Said to Be Interviewing Banks for IPO Later This Year

Petco Animal Supplies Inc., the pet supplies retailer taken private in a $1.8 billion leveraged buyout in 2006, is interviewing bankers for an initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

An IPO of the San Diego-based company could take place as soon as this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Petco, backed by TPG and Leonard Green & Partners, may seek to raise about $800 million, one of the people said.

This would be Petco’s third IPO since 1994, and the second by its current private equity owners. TPG and Leonard Green first bought the company in 2000 for $600 million and took it public in 2002. Petco started in 1965 as a mail-order company for veterinary supplies. In 1994 it went public for the first time, listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Spokesmen for Petco and TPG declined to comment, while a spokesman for Leonard Green didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc., which makes high-end food for cats and dogs, raised $778 million in an increased IPO this month, including an overallotment. The shares have surged more than 30 percent in just six days of trading.

Private equity firms have been exiting portfolio companies through the equity markets at a record clip. As stock markets reached record highs, buyout firms conducted 97 stock offerings in the second quarter, more than in any other three-month period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Most of the deals were through secondary offerings rather than IPOs, the data show.

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