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UPDATE 1-KKR joins takeover tussle for Germany's Zooplus

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  • ZOPLY
  • SYIEY

(Adds details, background)

Sept 7 (Reuters) - German online pet shop chain Zooplus is in takeover talks with a third potential bidder, the financial investor KKR, the company said on Tuesday, confirming media reports.

The coronavirus pandemic has fuelled the pet supply industry boom as more people bought cats and dogs during lockdowns, benefiting such companies as Zooplus and the German food ingredient maker Symrise.

Zooplus said the outcome of the discussions with KKR and its Swedish rival EQT was still open and there is no certainty the talks will result in a takeover offer, though both companies have presented a credible financial and strategic proposal.

KKR is the third company to have expressed interest in Zooplus since August, when the pet shop chain's board agreed a 3 billion euro ($3.56 billion) takeover offer from U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

Zooplus shares jumped on the news of a third suitor and were up 3.4% at 436 euros by 1230 GMT, well above the price of 390 euros per share it initially agreed with Hellman & Friedman. ($1 = 0.8432 euros) (Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk Editing by Keith Weir)