Profile image
By Cornucopia Institute (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Cornucopia Asked DOJ to Carefully Consider Organic Merger – And They Did

Friday, April 7, 2017 7:25
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

Cornucopia’s Take: U.S. organic dairy farmers achieved a rare win last week, keeping competition open in the industry, at least for now. The Danone/WhiteWave merger will go through without Stonyfield as part of the deal.

Organic industry watchdog wins antitrust victory
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
by Rick Barrett

A Wisconsin-based group that represents organic farmers says it’s won a U.S. Department of Justice victory against Danone, the France-based maker of Dannon yogurt, regarding competition in the American yogurt market.

The Cornucopia Institute says it argued that Danone should liquidate its holdings in the Stonyfield Farms organic yogurt brand as a condition of Danone’s proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of WhiteWave Foods.

The Justice Department agreed and said it would approve the WhiteWave deal if Stonyfield were sold to an independent buyer.

The sale will help ensure competitive marketplaces for farmers that sell organic milk and consumers who purchase it nationwide, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Cornucopia challenged the WhiteWave acquisition through the anti-trust division of the Justice Department.

“I think we presented some pretty compelling testimony on the possible ramifications of this deal. I am refreshingly surprised that the Department of Justice took this aggressive action,” said Mark Kastel, Cornucopia’s co-founder.

Danone is a global food company that had $24.3 billion in sales in fiscal 2015. Stonyfield Farms, a Danone subsidiary, is one of the nation’s largest organic yogurt makers.

Cornucopia, a nonprofit, says it urged the Justice Department to investigate the impact of a combined Danone and WhiteWave on organics.

Dairy is one of the most commercially successful product categories in organics, according to Cornucopia.

If Danone acquired WhiteWave, without divesting Stonyfield, it would reduce choices and raise prices for consumers, without any positive impact on the quality of products they’re buying, Kastel said.

“With less competition, big companies commonly underpay independent farmers for their products, undermining the economic vitality of small, family-scale farms. The organic community was wise to be very wary of this acquisition,” Kastel said.

The original deal would have combined Stonyfield, the world’s largest organic brand, with Wallaby, a rapidly growing organic yogurt label, and Horizon, the nation’s largest brand of organic milk.

With the Stonyfield issue settled, Danone said it expects to complete the WhiteWave acquisition this month.

“As part of the agreement in principle with DOJ, we made the strategic decision to divest Stonyfield, as it allows us to take a major step towards completing the WhiteWave transition expeditiously,” Danone said in a statement.

The post Cornucopia Asked DOJ to Carefully Consider Organic Merger – And They Did appeared first on Cornucopia Institute.


Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.