Dean Foods, the nation’s largest retail milk processor, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is looking to sell itself off.
Dean announced the bankruptcy filing Nov. 12 and has arranged for financing from creditors that will allow it to keep operating and supplying customers. The company is reportedly seeking to sell out to Dairy Farmers of America, the agricultural co-op that is the nation’s largest wholesale milk processor, but says it will entertain any better offers.
Dean has been affected by a general drop in sales of milk and other dairy products. Milk consumption has plunged 26% in the last 20 years, as consumers turn to nondairy alternatives or simply give up fluid milk altogether.
Dean has reported a net loss in seven of its last eight quarters. After hiring Eric Beringause, former CEO of Gehl Foods, as its CEO in July, the company announced that it had no immediate plans for a sale.