Danone, WhiteWave announce merger agreement

Danone will enter top 15 largest U.S. food and beverage manufacturers.

Danone announced today that it has entered a definitive merger agreement under which it will acquire WhiteWave Foods for $56.25 per share in an all-cash transaction, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $12.5 billion, including debt and certain other WhiteWave liabilities.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of both companies. Its price represents a premium of approximately 24% over WhiteWave’s 30-day average closing trading price ($45.43). The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to the approval of WhiteWave’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and customary conditions.

WhiteWave is a global company that generated $4 billion in sales in 2015 and has a portfolio of large and leading branded platforms in North America and Europe in high-growth, on-trend food and beverage categories that focus on premium organic dairy, non-genetically modified, plant-based alternatives to milk and yogurt, fresh foods and coffee creamers. The company’s business includes highly recognized, category-leading brands such as Silk, So Delicious, Vega, Alpro, Provamel, Horizon Organic, Wallaby Organic, Earthbound Farm and International Delight.

Since becoming a public company in 2012, WhiteWave sales have increased at a 19% compound annual growth rate through 2015, and WhiteWave has doubled its operating income during this period.

“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,” said Emmanuel Faber, Danone chief executive officer.

The transaction will broaden Danone’s presence in North America and create a leading U.S. refrigerated dairy player as well as one of the top 15 largest U.S. food and beverage manufacturers.
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