Danone has entered into a merger agreement to acquire U.S.-based WhiteWave Foods for approximately $12.5 billion. The all-cash deal is expected to close by end of year and will boost Danone’s presence as a global leader strongly addressing tomorrow’s consumer trends by providing healthy and sustainable eating and drinking options.
The transaction further diversifies Danone’s portfolio and broadens its presence in North America by creating a leading U.S. refrigerated dairy player, as well as one of the top 15 largest U.S. food and beverage manufacturers. Upon closing the transaction, Danone will have one of the most extensive portfolios of brands and products in fresh dairy, organic foods and beverages and plant-based alternatives to milk and yogurt.
WhiteWave generated $4 billion in sales in 2015 and offers a diverse portfolio of leading brands distributed in North America including Silk®, So Delicious® and Vega™ plant-based foods and beverages; International Delight® and LAND O LAKES®* (by license*) coffee creamers and beverages; Horizon Organic® and Wallaby Organic® premium dairy products; and Earthbound Farm® organic salads, fruits and vegetables. Its plant-based foods and beverages brands in Europe include Alpro® and Provamel®. The acquisition immediately doubles the size of Danone’s U.S. business and accelerates Danone journey toward strong sustainable and profitable growth by 2020.
Commenting on the deal, Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber said: “At Danone, we constantly seek to align our vision of the world, our mission and our businesses: we believe we have a special responsibility, as expressed in our Manifesto, to help and support people in adopting healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices and constantly evolve our portfolio of brands and products to achieve this objective. To that extent, we found in WhiteWave the perfect alliance as we both believe in a healthier future and are conscious of our power to lead society forward. This unique combination positions us better to address tomorrow’s consumer trends and represents a great opportunity to step change the ambition of our plan for an Alimentation revolution and to accelerate our path toward strong sustainable and profitable growth by 2020. It will allow us to enhance Danone’s growth profile and reinforce our resilience through a broader platform in North America. We are convinced that combining with WhiteWave will create significant value for all of our stakeholders."
Following the closing of the transaction, Danone and WhiteWave expect to combine their U.S. activities into a Public Benefit Corporation, which is in line with Danone’s long-term mission for building economic and social value. Danone and WhiteWave will establish a team to oversee the transition of the businesses.