DENVER and SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif.— WhiteWave Foods Company has agreed to acquire leading organic food brand Earthbound Farm for approximately $600 million in cash. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2014.
WhiteWave is the maker of Silk® plant-based foods and beverages, International Delight® and LAND O LAKES® coffee creamers and beverages, and Horizon Organic® premium dairy products. The company said it will operate Earthbound Farm as a separate business unit that will remain based in California. No significant operational changes are anticipated at Earthbound Farm as a result of the acquisition.
With anticipated 2013 net sales of more than $500 million, Earthbound Farm is the largest organic produce brand in North America and a leader in the value-added organic packaged salad category. Earthbound Farm also produces and markets an extensive line of organic fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables, and dried fruits and snacks.
“Earthbound Farm is an outstanding organization well-known for innovation, freshness, organic stewardship and food safety. It is a natural extension of our business that reaffirms WhiteWave’s leadership in the organic foods and beverages industry in North America," said WhiteWave Chairman and CEO Gregg Engles. “Fresh foods are one of the most attractive, emerging trends in the food industry today and the market for organic products continues to grow steadily. With Horizon Organic and Earthbound Farm, WhiteWave will now provide the two most popular gateways for consumers to enter into the organic category—produce and dairy."
In May 2013, dairy processor Dean Foods Company completed its spin-off of Colorado-based WhiteWave Foods. With the completion of the distribution, Dean Foods continues to own 19.9% interest in WhiteWave.