Danone to sell US dairy subsidiary Stonyfield for WhiteWave acquisition


Global food company Danone has reached an agreement in principle with the anti-trust division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ), taking the company a step closer to acquiring consumer-packaged food and beverage firm WhiteWave.

In order to promptly close the acquisition, Danone will be selling its US subsidiary Stonyfield after the completion.

The sale of Stonyfield is part of the agreement in principle with the US DOJ, which would allow the company to quickly close the transaction, as well as enable Danone to continue with its integration plans and garner benefits of the announced synergies.

Danone explained that the sale of Stonyfield would not affect its strategic motive or financial benefits of the WhiteWave acquisition.

Last year, Stonyfield is reported to have generated a turnover of approximately $370m.

According to Danone, the acquisition will allow the company to develop a wide range of dairy and plant-based food and beverage portfolio, including protein-rich, organic, non-GMO and nutrient-dense choices.

"We will bring together complementary portfolios, including some of the fastest growing, health-focused categories that are strongly aligned with long-term consumer trends."

Danone chief executive officer Emmanuel Faber said: "As part of the agreement in principle with the DOJ, we made the strategic decision to divest Stonyfield as it allows us to take a major step towards completing the WhiteWave transaction expeditiously.

“This is a good outcome as it addresses the DOJ's concerns and enables Danone to shortly begin to capture the benefits of the combination, and the value creation announced last July.

"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."

With the acquisition, the company anticipates that it would increase its North America business to more than $6bn in turnover, help the company to secure a place in the top 15 food and beverage companies in the US, and become a leader in the refrigerated dairy market.

Upon completion of the transaction, Danone expects significant run-rate EBIT synergies of $300m by 2020, an enhanced sales profile by 0.5% to 1%, and accretion of EBIT margin from next year.

Danone anticipates EPS accretion from this year and above 10% based on run-rate synergies.