French dairy giant Danone has declined to comment on a report it is in talks to sell its US organic dairy business Stonyfield to China’s Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co.
The New York Post said it has been told by “sources close to the process” that Yili has bid around US$850m to buy Stonyfield, which Danone is selling as part of a deal with local regulators on the company’s acquisition of US food and beverage group WhiteWave Foods.
Dean Foods, the US milk supplier, is also still in the running to buy Stonyfield, said the paper, quoting a source.
A spokesperson for Danone told just-food today (10 May) the group would not be commenting on the report.
A Dean Foods spokesperson told just-food: “It’s our policy not to comment on rumours or market speculation.”
Stonyfield, which had $370m in annual sales, was one of the first organic mega-brands in the US. As reported by just-food last month, a consensus of analysts estimates puts Danone’s price tag for Stonyfield north of $700m.
Last summer, Danone announced it had struck a deal to buy Alpro and Silk owner WhiteWave for $12.5bn. In December, Danone sold a unit in Belgium to secure EU approval for its acquisition of WhiteWave. Danone completed the deal last month.
In April, a move by Yili to acquire a stake in local peer Shengmu Organic Milk hit the buffers after the companies failed to secure regulatory approval for the transaction.