WhiteWave buying Earthbound Farm for $600M

WhiteWave Foods buying organic food brand Earthbound Farm for about $600 million

Associated Press

DENVER (AP) -- The packaging company WhiteWave Foods is buying the organic food maker Earthbound Farm for about $600 million.

Earthbound, best known for its organic packaged salads, is expected to have 2013 sales of more than $500 million. It also produces organic fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables and dried fruits and snacks.

WhiteWave Foods Co., whose brands include Silk, Land O Lakes and Horizon Organic, said Monday that it is buying Earthbound Farm from its existing shareholders, which are led by Kainos Capital and founders Drew and Myra Goodman.

"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," WhiteWave Chairman and CEO Gregg Engles said.

WhiteWave plans to run Earthbound Farm as a separate unit. No significant operational changes are expected for the San Juan Bautista, Calif., company.

The transaction is expected to add to WhiteWave's earnings per share in the first year after its closing. The acquisition is anticipated to add about 7 cents per share to WhiteWave's adjusted earnings in the first fiscal year, prior to transaction costs.

The deal is targeted to close in 2014's first quarter.

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