The WhiteWave Foods Co. (NYSE:WWAV), a leading consumer packaged food and beverage company in North America and Europe, announced that on Jan. 2, 2014, it completed its previously announced acquisition of Earthbound Farm, one of the country’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.”
As previously announced, WhiteWave plans to operate Earthbound Farm as a separate business unit, based in San Juan Bautista, Calif. No significant operational changes are anticipated at Earthbound Farm as a result of the acquisition.
WhiteWave used cash on hand and borrowings under its senior secured credit facilities to finance the acquisition, including a new $500 million seven-year incremental term loan facility that was arranged by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and CoBank, ACB, as the joint lead arrangers and co-book managers. WhiteWave further amended its senior credit facilities, providing an option to increase the facilities by an additional $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 approximately $1.29 billion.