Danone’s sale of its U.S.-based subsidiary Stonyfield Farm Inc. has piqued global interest, and it appears that the interested parties aren’t messing around.
The company officially closed April 12 on the $10 billion acquisition of WhiteWave, but as part of an agreement in principle with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the company must sell Stonyfield, which makes organic and Greek yogurt.
In a filing to the Shanghai (China) Stock Exchange, Yili Industrial Group Co., China’s largest dairy, said it would bid for all shares -- a value of around $850 million -- to buy Stonyfield. However, the company cautioned in the statement that the bid may be unsuccessful. Yili recently tried to purchase a 37% stake in China Shengmu Organic Milk Ltd. for $679 million, but Chinese regulators rejected the deal.
Dean Foods and General Mills have also been rumored to be interested parties.
While Danone noted that Stonyfield has been a valued part of its portfolio and remains a highly attractive asset, it said the divestiture does not affect the strategic rationale or financial benefits of the WhiteWave acquisition. Stonyfield generated turnover of approximately $370 million in 2016.