Eurazeo Brands , the Paris-based consumer goods division of its parent, private-equity investor Eurazeo, has signed an exclusivity agreement to acquire a majority stake in local pet-food supplier Ultra Premium Direct (UPD) for EUR68m (US$79.7m).

Sophie and Matthieu Wincker, who founded UPD in 2013 to offer natural and healthy pet foods, are also reinvesting in the business based in Estillac in the south-west region of Lot-et-Garonne, alongside another private-equity firm Eutopia, which is also headquartered in the French capital and is part of Otium Capital. Eutopia is an existing minority shareholder in UPD.

UPD operates a manufacturing facility in Agen, southern France, and caters to high-protein foods for cats and dogs with no artificial colourings or preservatives which are sold online and through a subscription service.

Laurent Droin, the managing director of Eurazeo Brands, said in a statement the company will seek to expand UPD into new markets in Europe and expand its digital and e-commerce capabilities. 

“The pet-food category benefits from very attractive underlying trends towards pet humanisation, premiumisation and search for quality and transparency,” he continued. “We are convinced that Ultra Premium Direct is a modern and differentiated brand as a result of its direct approach to consumers, without intermediaries, and high-quality product offering distributed at a fair price point.” 

UPD’s co-founders added: “We are delighted to benefit from Eurazeo’s support for our next journey, notably for our European expansion, and are convinced Eurazeo will be the right partner given their successful track record and capabilities. Together, we will further fulfil our mission to make quality pet food accessible to as many dogs and cats as possible.”