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Danone sells Vega brand to US private equity firm

Danone sells Vega brand to US private equity firm

Danone has sold its North American vegetable powder brand Vega to funds managed by local private equity firm WM Partners.

The French company announced the sale in a brief statement today (June 17) shortly after 6 p.m. CET.

Danone said last fall that it was the future of the Vega business, which the company acquired as part of the 2016 takeover of Alpro manufacturer WhiteWave Foods.

„The sale of Vega is part of Danone’s continued streamlining of quotations and the strategic review of Danone’s portfolio of brands, SKUs and assets announced in October 2020,” said Danone.

Just Food asked for more details, including how much WM Partners paid for the asset, but Danone declined to comment.

According to WM Partners, the acquisition was made through the HPH II Investments Master Fund. In the past two years, the HPH II fund has acquired the hydration brand Ultima Replenisher, the collagen company Great Lakes, and the “superfoods” brand FGO.

Danone’s move to review his portfolio was part of his offering to respond to the impact of Covid-19 on the business. The announcement in October also included a review of activities in Argentina and a reorganization of the management structure – although further changes at the top of the company occurred this spring with the departure of the then Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber.

In May, Danone completed the sale of its 10% stake to China Mengniu Dairy Co. The sale resulted in proceeds of HKD 15.4 billion ($ 1.98 billion). Danone announced its plan to sell its Mengniu stake in March. At the time, it was said that the move would „deliver portfolio optimization and improve shareholder returns through disciplined capital allocation.”

Vega sells plant-based shakes to customers in North America. WhiteWave acquired Vega, then based in Canada, for around $ 550 million in 2015.

Danone closed a deal in the summer of 2016 to buy WhiteWave, which valued the dairy and dairy-free company at $ 12.5 billion.

In September, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut, a former Unilever executive, will become the new CEO of Danone.

Just Food Analysis, May 2021: High expectations – the challenge for the new Danone CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique