Danone, the multinational food company known for its Dannon and Activa yogurt lines, will acquire WhiteWave Foods Co. in an all-cash deal representing a total value of about $12.5 billion.
Danone, based in Paris, will pay $56.25 per share for Denver-based WhiteWave, manufacturer of plant-based dairy substitutes and organic foods including the Silk Soy Milk product line, the companies said in a joint announcement. The price represents a premium of about 24% over WhiteWave’s 30-day average closing trading price of $45.43. WhiteWave’s stock price opened on Thursday at $56.33, up $8.90.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to WhiteWave shareholder and regulatory approvals.
The combination of the two product lines “will create a truly unique global leader committed to addressing tomorrow’s consumer trends by providing healthy and sustainable eating and drinking options,” the companies said.
In citing strategic benefits of the deal, Danone noted the fast growth of organic foods and beverages, products that are not genetically modified, and alternatives to milk and yogurt. WhiteWave’s products will complement Danone’s lineup of fresh dairy products, water products such as Evian, and early-life and medical nutritional products.
“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 towards strong sustainable and profitable growth by 2020,” said Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber.
Following the closing of the transaction, Danone’s North America footprint would increase from 12% to 22% of the company’s total portfolio worldwide, Danone said.
Danone reported 2015 profit of $1.5 billion on $22.8 billion in sales. WhiteWave had 2015 income of $168.4 million on sales of $3.9 billion.