(Bloomberg) -- Chinese private equity firm FountainVest Partners is nearing a deal to buy New Zealand pet food company Ziwi, according to people familiar with the matter.

FountainVest plans to buy closely-held Ziwi in a deal that would value the company at about NZ$1.5 billion ($1.06 billion), the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. FountainVest has emerged as the likely buyer for the business after outbidding rivals including buyout firms and industry competitors, the people said.

Representatives for FountainVest and Ziwi didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment made outside normal business hours.

Founded in 2002 by Peter Mitchell, a free-range deer farmer, Ziwi sells pet food including air-dried and wet cat and dog food, as well as chews, treats and bones, according to its website. Its meats and poultry are ethically raised and its seafood is wild-caught and sustainable, the site shows.

Pet food businesses have drawn interest from buyers including consumer companies and investment funds, as people spend more on the health and well-being of their animal companions. This year KKR & Co. bought Natural Pet Food Group of New Zealand for an undisclosed amount, completing the deal in May.

FountainVest has been an active buyer of assets in recent years. They were part of a consortium that agreed in 2018 to buy Amer Sports for 5.6 billion euros ($6.6 billion). Other investments in their portfolio include Pure Group, a gym and yoga chain popular among bankers in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, FountainVest agreed to purchase China’s CJ Rokin Logistics from its South Korean parent CJ Logistics Corp.

(Updates with information on Ziwi and M&A context from the fourth paragraph.)

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