Danone selling Horizon Organic and Wallaby to Platinum Equity

Brands projected to benefit from Platinum Equity's carve-out experience and operational expertise.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

January 3, 2024

3 Min Read
Image credit: Danone

Nearly one year after Danone announced it would explore strategic options for the potential sale of its brands Horizon Organic and Wallaby, Platinum Equity announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire both brands from Danone.

Horizon Organic is the largest USDA-certified organic dairy brand in the world and is a pioneer in dairy beverages, having introduced the first organic milk available coast to coast in the United States in 1991. Horizon Organic's portfolio of organic dairy products includes milk, creamers and whiteners, yogurt, cheese and butter.

The proposed acquisition also includes the Wallaby brand, an Australian-inspired Greek-style yogurt made with organic milk and premium ingredients.

"Horizon Organic is an iconic name in dairy that is well recognized and beloved by consumers," said Platinum Equity Co-President Louis Samson. "The brand has earned a reputation for quality and innovation that is unmatched in the industry. We appreciate Danone's confidence in our ability to build on that legacy and support Horizon Organic's growth as a standalone company."

The U.S. dairy category is estimated at $68 billion with milk comprising approximately $17 billion of that total. 

"Premium offerings, including organic and value-added products, are driving the growth in the dairy milk category," said Platinum Equity Managing Director Adam Cooper. "Horizon Organic is a pioneer of that segment and is in position to continue capitalizing on and accelerating the trend."

Platinum Equity has decades of experience acquiring and operating global businesses that have been part of large corporate entities. The firm recently announced the pending acquisition of Kohler Energy from Kohler Co. In recent years Platinum Equity has also acquired businesses from firms like Ball Corporation, Caterpillar, ConAgra, Emerson Electric, Ingersoll Rand and Johnson & Johnson, among others.

"We are excited about Horizon Organic's potential as an independent business with a renewed sense of focus and a commitment to investing in its success," said Cooper. "We have a lot of experience supporting food and beverage businesses. We look forward to partnering with Horizon Organic's management team to ensure a seamless transition and chart a path for continued growth and expansion."

Platinum Equity's current portfolio includes Biscuit International, a European manufacturer of private-label sweet biscuits, wine producer Fantini Group Vini and seafood provider Iberconsa. Previous Platinum Equity investments include JM Swank, a food ingredients distributor acquired from ConAgra, and Harvest Meat Company, a US distributor of packaged meat and bakery products.

The proposed acquisition of Horizon Organic and Wallaby is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with approximately $47 billion of assets under management and a portfolio of approximately 50 operating companies that serve customers around the world. Platinum Equity specializes in mergers, acquisitions and operations – a trademarked strategy it calls M&A&O – acquiring and operating companies in a broad range of business markets, including manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics, equipment rental, metals services, media and entertainment, technology, telecommunications and other industries. Over the past 28 years, Platinum Equity has completed more than 450 acquisitions.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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