The WhiteWave Foods Company (NYSE:WWAV), a consumer packaged food and beverage company, has completed its acquisition of Earthbound Farm, one of the nation’s leading organic food brands, for approximately $600 million in cash.
Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer of WhiteWave, said, “We are pleased to complete this transaction, which represents an exciting step in WhiteWave’s evolution and reaffirms our leadership in the organic foods and beverages industry in North America. With Earthbound Farm as part of our portfolio, WhiteWave will now provide the two most popular gateways for consumers to enter into the organic category—produce and dairy—and have a significant foothold in the fresh foods category, which represents one of the most attractive, emerging trends in the food industry today. We look forward to partnering with our talented colleagues at Earthbound Farm as we continue to work to change the way the world eats for the better.”
WhiteWave plans to operate Earthbound Farm as a separate business unit, based in San Juan Bautista CA. No significant operational changes are anticipated at Earthbound Farm as a result of the acquisition.
To finance the acquisition, WhiteWave used cash on hand and borrowings under its senior secured credit facilities. These include a new $500 million, seven-year incremental term loan facility arranged by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc; J P Morgan Securities LLC; and CoBank ACB as joint lead arrangers and co-book managers. WhiteWave further amended its senior credit facilities, providing an option to increase the facilities by another $500 million, subject to future lenders’ commitments. After giving effect to the acquisition, the principal amount outstanding under WhiteWave’s current $1.84 billion senior secured credit facilities commitments is about $1.29 billion.
WhiteWave’s brands distributed in North America include Silk plant-based foods and beverages, International Delight and Land O Lakes coffee creamers and beverages, and Horizon Organic dairy products. Its European brands of plant-based foods and beverages include Alpro and Provamel. To learn more, go to www.whitewave.com.
Founded in 1984 on a 2.5-acre backyard garden, Earthbound Farm is now one of the nation’s leading organic food companies. The company offers more than 100 varieties of certified organic salads, fruits, and vegetables grown on more than 50,000 crop acres by more than 200 farmers. For more information, access www.ebfarm.com.