Pets at Home has been sold to private equity house Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for £955m, including the debt.

The pets specialist, which has flourished in the recession, had been mulling a sale or a possible stock market flotation for some months.

Matt Davies will stay on as chief executive at the pets specialist.

Previous owners Bridgepoint bought Pets at Home for about £230m in 2004.

Davies said: “We are thrilled to embark on this new chapter in our history with the strong support of KKR.

“KKR’s investment represents a resounding endorsement of our success to date and a validation of our colleagues’ commitment and enthusiasm towards pets and pet owners across the UK. KKR has a track-record of investing in world-class retailers around the world, and it’s exciting for us to join the ranks of KKR retail investments like Alliance Boots, Toys“R”Us, Dollar General and Maxeda. It has been a pleasure to work with Bridgepoint over the last six years and we are proud of all we have accomplished with their support.”

KKR executive John Pfeffer said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to back the outstanding Pets at Home management team led by Matt Davies and to invest in this exceptional company.

“Pets at Home leads the UK pet market with 4,200 passionate and expert colleagues and a well-differentiated retail proposition. We are enthusiastic about the significant further potential for Pets at Home to grow, develop and continue to deliver its unmatched breadth of products, store environment, competitive pricing and customer service.”

Pets at Home recently revealed a record Christmas, with like-for-likes up 6.7% in the 6 weeks to January 7 and 9.8% like-for-like growth for the 41 weeks to January 7.