France's yogurt maker Danone SA, Londonderry, N.H., could make a deal to sell its Stonyfield Farm brand by the end of the month, reports claim. Mexican dairy firm Grupo Lala is reportedly in the lead among the bidders. It's unclear how much Grupo Lala has offered to buy Stonyfield, although a Chinese firm previously said it would be entering an $850 million bid for the yogurt brand. The Wall Street Journal noted that Grupo Lala’s talks with Danone could fall apart or the Mexico City-based company could still be outbid by another suitor.
Talks are said to be at an advanced stage and the price Grupo Lala might pay wasn't disclosed, but another bidder offered $850 million.
Danone put Stonyfield up for sale in March in order to win antitrust clearance for its $10-billion acquisition of WhiteWave Foods Co., maker of Silk soymilk and Horizon organic milk brands.
Reuters reported last week that Inner Mongolia Yili International Group Co., China’s largest dairy company, was among the bidders for Stonyfield. A filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange showed the company was prepared to bid $850 million for Stonyfield, though it acknowledged that the bid may not be successful.
Grupo Lala operates 21 production plants and 159 distributions centers in Mexico, the U.S. and Central America. Its offerings including milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products.
Last year, Stonyfield generated annual revenue of a reported $370 million. The maker of organic and Greek-style yogurt, founded in 1983, is considered one of the pioneers in feeding consumers' growing desire for simpler and more natural products.