Groupe Danone has laid down a timetable for its takeover of Dutch nutrition group Royal Numico.

The French food group today (20 August) asked Numico shareholders interested in its offer to tender their shares from tomorrow to 31 October.

Danone said at least 66.67% of Numico shares must be tendered for the EUR55-a-share offer, which values the company at EUR12.3bn (US$16.6bn), to go through.

The Numico board reiterated its belief that the Danone offer is "reasonable and fair and in the best interests of Numico".

Danone first tabled its offer in July, when the company's CEO Franck Riboud said a takeover of Numico would create "most powerful" health food company in the world.

Numico, which specialises in nutrition and baby food, including the Milupa and Cow & Gate brands, became a target for Danone as the French firm looked to beef up its "health and wellbeing" business.

A week before Danone made its offer for Numico, the company accepted a bid for its French biscuits and cereals business from Kraft Foods.