One of Europe's leading technology investors is to begin vetting buyers for a £100m takeover of MedicAnimal, an online supplier of petcare products.
MedicAnimal describes itself as the UK's leading online pet health retailer, having seen sales and profitability grow rapidly in recent years amid a boom in consumer spending on animal-care.
Insiders said that MedicAnimal could fetch a price of between £60m and £100m just three years after Balderton and fellow investment firm Iris Capital paid £10m for a controlling stake.
Balderton is one of the most successful investors in European technology businesses, counting Nutmeg, the wealth management business, and payday lender Wonga among the companies in which it has held stakes.
A formal sale process, which is expected to get under way in the coming months, will follow last week's sale of Partner in Pet Food, a Hungarian own-label manufacturer which supplies retailers including Tesco (Xetra: 852647 - news) , for approximately £300m.
MedicAnimal is chaired by David Giampaolo, a leading figure in the UK's private equity industry and the chief executive of Pi Capital, an invitation-only networking and investment club.
In August 2012, the company expanded with the acquisition of Petmeds.co.uk, a rival online store for animal medicines, food and grooming products.
Mintel, the market research firm, forecast in 2012 that the UK petcare market, which was valued at £2.7bn in 2011, would grow by 20% by 2016.
Based in London, MedicAnimal was launched in 2007, and now employs more than 200 people.
Speaking after its takeover of Petmeds, Ivan Retzignac, the MedicAnimal founder and chief executive, said: "The average lifetime cost of owning a dog or cat can easily exceed £17,000 and so MedicAnimal is committed to offering the best products at the lowest prices.
"On average our products are 40% cheaper than those sold by vets or high street retailers and, as we scale our business internationally, we can make first class pet care more affordable than ever."