Danone to acquire WhiteWave Foods

by Keith Nunes
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WhiteWave Foods acquired by Danone
WhiteWave Foods is an international competitor in the plant-based, organic dairy and organic produce categories.

PARIS — Infant formula and yogurt manufacturer Danone S.A. has entered into an agreement to acquire The WhiteWave Foods Co. for $56.25 per share in a deal valued at approximately $12.5 billion and includes debt and other obligations. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Based in Denver, WhiteWave Foods is an international competitor in the plant-based, organic dairy and organic produce categories. The company owns such brands as Silk, So Delicious, Horizon Organic, Earthbound Farm and Alpro. The company generated approximately $4 billion in sales during fiscal 2015.

Franck Riboud, Danone
Franck Riboud, chairman of Danone

“I believe this acquisition advances Danone’s mission and rich history of being at the forefront of emerging consumer trends and commitment to creating economic and social value,” said Franck Riboud, chairman of Danone. “We believe WhiteWave’s size, positioning and geographical footprint fit perfectly with Danone's strategy and that it is the right transaction at the right time.”

For Danone, the acquisition has several benefits. It allows the company to better align its product portfolio with consumer trends for healthier and sustainable eating and drinking options. Organic foods and beverages and non-G.M.O. plant-based alternatives to milk and yogurt are among the fastest growing categories in the industry, according to the company, and WhiteWave has been the fastest growing food and beverage company in the United States and one of the fastest growing in Europe for the past four years.

The transaction also will diversify Danone’s presence in the United States, which primarily consists of the dairy companies The Dannon Co., Stonyfield Farm and the Yocrunch Co. as well as some bottled water brands. Once the transaction is closed, business in North America will increase from 11% of the company’s portfolio to 22%.

Gregg Engles, WhiteWave
Gregg Engles, chairman and c.e.o. of WhiteWave Foods

“We believe this is a compelling transaction that delivers significant cash value to our shareholders,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer of WhiteWave Foods. “Danone is a unique company with distinctive capabilities that will enable WhiteWave to reach its next phase of growth.”

Once the transaction is complete, Mr. Engles will be joining Danone’s board of directors.

In fiscal 2015, Danone generated €22,412 million ($24,842 million) in sales, a 6% increase compared with the prior year. By geographic region sales were €8,900 million in Europe, €4,471 million in North America and €9,041 million in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

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