Merrill, J.P. Morgan, Others Arrange WhiteWave’s Earthbound Buy
The WhiteWave Foods Company announced that on January 2, 2014 it completed its previously announced acquisition of Earthbound Farm, an organic food brand, for approximately $600 million in cash.
WhiteWave used cash on hand and borrowings under its senior-secured credit facilities to finance the acquisition, including a new $500 million 7-year incremental term loan facility arranged by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith; J.P. Morgan Securities 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.
Gregg Engles, chairman and CEO 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, CA. No significant operational changes are anticipated at Earthbound Farm as a result of the acquisition.
The WhiteWave Foods Company is a consumer packaged food and beverage company that manufactures, markets, distributes and sells branded plant-based foods and beverages, coffee creamers and beverages, and premium dairy products throughout North America and Europe.