Dean Foods Explores Sale of Morningstar Business

Sept. 26, 2012
No buyer in mind; follows planned spin-off of WhiteWave-Alpro.

Dallas-based Dean Foods Inc. said on Sept. 26 it’s considering the sale of its Morningstar business unit as a means of maximizing shareholder value.

“The company has not yet identified a buyer for Morningstar, but believes the business possesses an attractive portfolio in a growing marketplace and a top-notch management team,” a company statement said.

Dean has been under pressure lately, having recorded a $1.6 billion loss last year, largely due to the skyrocketing cost of raw milk. And while sales look flat this year, profits are up.

Dean on Aug. 7 announced it would spin off 20 percent of its WhiteWave-Alpro business unit, which makes soy milk, into a new company, WhiteWave Foods Co. Proceeds from the offering, as well as $800-925 million to be borrowed under a new credit facility at WhiteWave, are expected to be applied to reduce Dean Foods' outstanding debt.

“The company only intends to sell the Morningstar business if it can do so in a transaction that maximizes shareholder value and helps ensure the future success of the business,” today’s company statement said.

Morningstar Foods makes traditional and specialty dairy items, including cultured dairy products, ice cream mixes, coffee creamers, aerosol whipped toppings, traditional and value-added milks, and blended iced beverages.

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