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Danone puts Stonyfield up for sale to complete WhiteWave acquisition

FBR Staff Writer Published 03 April 2017

Danone has agreed to divest one of its US dairy subsidiaries, Stonyfield, to secure approval from US antitrust authorities for its $10bn acquisition of soy-milk maker WhiteWave Foods.

The French dairy giant has reached an agreement in principle with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

As per the terms, Danone will offload Stonyfield, within months after the completion the acquisition of WhiteWave.

According to Danone, Stonyfield, which recorded net revenue of $370m in 2016, has been an important part of its portfolio and continues to be a highly luring asset.

However, the French company said that its divestiture would not affect the strategic rationale or financial benefits reaped from the WhiteWave purchase.

Danone added that it was looking for a suitable buyer to back the growth journey of Stonyfield in the coming years.

The French company stated that the move to sell Stonyfield is likely to allow for the prompt completion of WhiteWave acquisition in the coming days. Besides, it would enable Danone to advance with the merger and enjoy the complete benefits of the subsequent synergies.

Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber said: “WhiteWave is expected to accelerate Danone’s 2020 profitable growth journey, drive strong value creation and deliver attractive financial benefits, including an above 10% EPS accretion based on run-rate synergies.

“Through this perfect match, we will bring together complementary portfolios, including some of the fastest growing, health-focused categories that are strongly aligned with long term consumer trends.

“The combination will allow us to develop a world-leading dairy and plant-based food and beverage portfolio, with a full spectrum of better-for -you offerings, including protein-rich, organic, non-GMO and nutrient-dense choices.”

It was in July 2016 that Danone announced its agreement to acquire the US-based consumer packaged food and beverage company.

In mid December last year, the European Commission gave a conditional approval for the deal and asked Danone to divest a major proportion of its growing-up-milk business in Belgium.


Image: Exterior view of the Danone Unimilk factory of Chekhov, Russia. Photo: courtesy of Danone.