PHOENIX—PetSmart Inc., the largest specialty pet retailer in North America, said Sunday afternoon it had agreed to be taken private for $83 per share in cash, or approximately $8.7 billion including the assumption of debt. The consortium of buyers is led by London-based private equity firm BC Partners Inc. and also includes La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and StepStone.

The largest private equity buyout of 2014 thus far, the sale comes after an auction process following a review of strategic alternatives that began last summer. At that time, activist shareholder Jana Partners disclosed a 9.9% stake in the Phoenix-based retailer and began pushing its board to explore a sale.

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