Nestle buys majority stake in British dog food group

FILE PHOTO: The Nestle logo is seen during the opening of the 151st Annual General Meeting of Nestle in Lausanne, Switzerland April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Nestle’s Purina PetCare division has acquired a majority stake in, a British tailor-made dog food company, from venture capital group Draper Esprit, the partners said on Monday.

They gave no financial terms for the stake in, which was launched in 2014 and feeds more than 100,000 dogs.

The purchase is the latest in a string of pet care deals, as investors seek to take advantage of consumers’ growing demand for more nutritious food and treats for their pets.

The news comes less than a week after Nestle opened a new pet food factory in Chile, with a $120 million investment. It also announced a $320 million investment in a U.S. pet food factory and distribution centre in September 2017.

Earlier this month, J.M. Smucker agreed to buy Ainsworth Pet Nutrition for $1.9 billion.

In February General Mills announced an $8 billion deal for Blue Buffalo.

“With the rapid growth of personalised pet nutrition, as well as subscription services, Nestle Purina’s shareholding in this digital first business offers significant growth opportunities for both companies,” said Nestle, which has made pet food a strategic growth area. will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity led by co-founder and Chief Executive James Davidson.

Draper Esprit said in a separate release the transaction was executed “at a value supportive of the NAV (net asset value) as at 31 March and represents an attractive return for Draper Esprit”.

Reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich and Martinne Geller in London; Editing by Mark Potter