Danone to buy WhiteWave in bid to boost US business

French food producer sets sights on affluent consumers with niche healthfood offerings

 Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer of WhiteWave with Franck Riboud, chairman of French food group Danone. Photograph: John Schults/Reuters

Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer of WhiteWave with Franck Riboud, chairman of French food group Danone. Photograph: John Schults/Reuters

 

France’s Danone said yesterday it would double the size of its US business by buying organic foods producer WhiteWave Foods for $10.4 billion in its largest acquisition since 2007.

The purchase will help Danone pursue affluent consumers by adding WhiteWave’s popular healthfood offerings such as Silk almond milk, Earthbound Farm organic salad and Horizon organic milk to its lineup as it struggles in more challenging markets such as Brazil and Russia.

It is the first major transaction by Emmanuel Faber who took over as Danone’s chief executive in 2014 and has vowed to return the group to “strong profitable and sustainable growth” by 2020.

WhiteWave’s shares rose as much as 19.8 per cent to a record $56.82 and remained above the offer price.

– (Reuters)