US food giant Mars has acquired private-equity-backed Canadian pet-food business Champion Petfoods.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Champion Petfoods is best known for its pet-food brands Orijen and Acana, which will join a Mars portfolio including Cesar, Royal Canin and Whiskas.

Mars has bought the business from an investor group led by Bedford Capital and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan. The deal comes five months after reports emerged that Champion Petfoods’ owners were weighing up their options.

Champion Petfoods is a global player in the pet-food sector, selling its products in 90 countries, including in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The company’s dry food products are manufactured in three company-owned facilities: two in Alberta in Canada and the other in the US state of Kentucky. Mars has 15 manufacturing sites across the two countries.

In a statement, Mars said Champion Petfoods would give the company “well-respected brands in the premium pet food category” and would “broaden its offering within pet specialty and independent retail, as well as digital commerce channels”.

Ikdeep Singh, global president of Mars Pet Nutrition, added: “The Champion Petfoods team has been a pioneer in developing high-quality and premium pet-food in the natural category that pet lovers around the world trust.”

Mars declined to comment on the annual sales generated by either its pet-care business or Champion Petfoods.

In 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported Nestlé was said to be engaged in talks to acquire a majority interest in Champion Petfoods from Bedford Capital and the Muhlenfeld family founders, who started making pet food in 1985 under the watch of Reinhard Muhlenfeld.

Pet food was singled out as a “hot” M&A category for 2022 by deal advisers Just Food spoke to last year as Covid-19 increased pet ownership as people sought companionship in canines and felines.