U.S. Markets closed

Mars buying pet health care company VCA in $7.7B deal

FILE - This Wednesday, March 26, 2014, file photo, shows an entrance of a Mars Inc. production facility near Topeka, Kan. Mars is buying the pet health care company VCA in a deal valued at around $7.7 billion. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mars is buying the pet health care company VCA in a deal valued at around $7.7 billion.

Mars will pay $93 for each share of VCA Inc. That's a 31 percent premium to the Los Angeles company's Friday closing price of $70.77.

The companies said Monday that the deal also includes $1.4 billion in debt.

VCA's stock is surging more than 28 percent before the opening bell.

VCA has nearly 800 animal hospitals and 60 diagnostic laboratories in the U.S. and Canada.

Mars Inc., based in McLean, Virginia, is the food and drinks company that owns the Wrigley brand, and it also has a pet care division. VCA will operate as a separate unit of Mars' pet care business.

The deal still needs approval from VCA shareholders.