Nestlé Purina PetCare has acquired Tails.com after taking a majority stake in the direct-to-consumer personalised dog nutrition business.

Launched in 2014, Tails.com feeds more than 100,000 dogs in the UK, providing food tailored according to factors such as an animal’s age, breed, size and level of activity. Its flexible subscription service delivers four million bespoke meals per month.

The digital-first service, which expects sales to be in excess of £20m this year, will continue to operate as a standalone entity led by co-founder and CEO James Davidson. The current management team and employees will remain shareholders and continue to run the business from its base in Richmond, south-west London.

The acquisition of Tails.com by the UK’s biggest petfood player came in response to the “rapid growth of personalised pet nutrition, as well as subscription services”, according to Purina, maker of Winalot and Bonio. It offered “significant growth opportunities for both companies”.

Bernard Meunier, Purina’s EMENA CEO, said the deal “underlines our focus on investing in high-growth categories and acting on consumer trends. Tails.com has a unique and winning business model that successfully combines individually customised recipes with a best-in-class pet owner experience, and all at competitive prices.”

Tails.com, which was advised in the deal by Houlihan Lokey, now had the capacity to expand “in the UK and beyond” said Davidson. “We will continue to run the business with the same entrepreneurial and customer-centric vision that has already brought us so much success.”

News of the deal comes with the Purina brand’s value sales stagnant at £542.7m on volumes down 6.4% as shoppers buy fewer petcare products in the mults [Nielsen 52 w/e 30 December 2017].