Nestlé has rekindled early stage talks to buy a majority stake in Champion Petfoods, the Canadian company it initially looked at buying earlier this year before discussions foundered, people close to the situation said.
The private, Edmonton-based company makes premium dog and cat foods with what it calls “fresh, regional ingredients” like vegetables, meat and poultry. One of its backers is private equity fund Bedford Capital.
The people familiar with the situation cautioned that there was no guarantee a deal could be reached. It is also not clear if Champion’s backers want to pursue a sale of the company, which continues to grow quickly.
Nestlé and Champion declined to comment on the deal talks. The Wall Street Journal first reported on talks about Nestlé acquiring a controlling stake for more than $2bn in July of this year.
If finalised, a Champion acquisition would build on Nestlé’s deal earlier this year for UK-based tails.com, which makes personalised dog food tailored by breed, age, and activity level. Chief Executive Mark Schneider last year made pet care one of Nestlé’s four priority growth areas, along with coffee, bottled water and baby food, as the group seeks to offset weaker demand for its packaged foods.
Champion does not disclose its revenue or profit. But its products fit squarely into a fast-growing segment of the pet food market, namely responding to consumers’ desire to give their pets healthier and more authentic food and treats.