PARIS — On March 30, Eurazeo Brands signed an exclusive agreement to invest and acquire a majority share of Ultra Premium Direct, a leading French premium pet food company.

Eurazeo Brands, a division of global private equity firm Eurazeo, plans to invest €68 million ($79.8 million USD) in the “digitally-native” pet food company.

“We are thrilled by Eurazeo’s investment into the company,” said Sophie and Matthieu Wincker, co-founders of Ultra Premium Direct. “Ultra Premium Direct was a pioneer in the pet food category and has become a leading player in France. 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.”

Ultra Premium Direct was founded in 2013 as a direct-to-consumer pet food company aiming to “democratize premium pet food” for French pet owners. The company exclusively offers premium, natural products directly through its website and subscription service.

Ultra Premium Direct’s formulas feature high protein levels and do not incorporate artificial colors or preservatives. All formulas are developed at the company’s own industrial facility in Agen, and through collaboration with veterinary nutritionists, according to Eurazeo.

“The pet food category benefits from very attractive underlying trends towards pet humanization, premiumization and search for quality and transparency,” said Laurent Droin, managing director of Eurazeo Brands. “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. We are eager to work alongside Sophie and Matthieu Wincker and their team to support the future growth of the company by accelerating momentum in France and expanding internationally, penetrating new geographies.”

Eurazeo Brands will contribute its brand building, operational and consumer expertise to support growth for Ultra Premium Direct, specifically investing in its digital and e-commerce capabilities. The private equity firm will work alongside the Winckers and current Ultra Premium Direct management to improve the company’s product offerings and services.

The private equity also hopes to expand Ultra Premium Direct’s reach internationally, with a focus on other European markets.

“Together, we will further fulfill our mission to make quality pet food accessible to as many dogs and cats as possible,” the Winckers added.

Read more global pet food and treat news from outside North America.