Danone is buying WhiteWave — the maker of Silk soy milk — for $10 billion

Flickr/Mike Mozart

WhiteWave, the maker of consumer dairy products such as Silk soy milk and Land O’ Lakes, announced on Thursday that it was being acquired by the French food company Danone for $10.1 billion.

Danone, whose products include Activia yogurt and Evian water, will pay $56.25 a share of WhiteWave in an all-cash deal, according to a release from the companies.

WhiteWave closed trading on Wednesday at $47.43 a share, so the deal represents an 18% premium to that price and 24% over its 30-day average price, according to the release.

The deal values WhiteWave at a total enterprise value of $12.5 billion, which includes debt and other liabilites taken on from WhiteWave.

“This unique combination positions us better to address tomorrow’s consumer trends and represents a great opportunity to step change the ambition of our plan for an Alimentation revolution and to accelerate our path towards strong sustainable and profitable growth by 2020,” Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber said in the release announcing the move.

“It will allow us to enhance Danone’s growth profile and reinforce our resilience through a broader platform in North America.”

According to Danone, this would increase its percentage of sales in North America to 22% of its portfolio from 12%. The two companies expect to realize $300 million in synergies by 2020.

According to Akshay Jagdale, an analyst at Jefferies, the bid by Danone may not be the last.

“WhiteWave has largely been considered one of the most likely buyout candidates in our space with a relatively long list of potential buyers including, but not limited to, Danone, General Mills, Nestlé, Pepsi and Coca-Cola,” Jagdale wrote in a note to clients immediately following the deal.

“Recall WhiteWave’s stock had run up significantly in the early part of 2015 (January through July of 2015) in anticipation of the company being sold as soon as it passed the two-year anniversary of its spin-off from Dean Foods. Given that the 24% premium is below the 30% premium that buyers typically offer in a take-out bid, we think additional bidders entering the fray is a possibility.”

According to the release, the board of directors at both companies have approved the deal and it is expected to close by the end of the year if regulators approve it.