Danone to acquire YoCream for $103 million

by Eric Schroeder
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PARIS — Groupe Danone has reached agreement to acquire Portland, Ore.-based frozen yogurt maker YoCream International Inc. for $103 million. Danone said its offer of $39.82 per share already has been accepted by shareholders owning 77% of YoCream, and it is set to close by the end of 2010.

“The transaction will enable Danone to move into frozen yogurt, a fast-growing segment in the U.S.,” Groupe Danone said. “It will also gain access to an away-from-home distribution network, in addition to its existing channels.

“The move reflects Danone’s strategy for expansion of the fresh dairy products market in the U.S., in particular by extending the times and places where its products are consumed.”

YoCream was founded in 1977 and offers more than 110 flavors of frozen yogurt, ice cream, frozen custard, sorbet, smoothies, frozen carbonated beverages, slushes and frozen drink mixes. In addition to the YoCream brand, the company also provides other branded flavors such as Hershey’s and Rockstar under exclusive licenses.

YoCream also sells its frozen yogurt products in 17 foreign countries which represents approximately 4% of the company’s net sales in 2010. YoCream, which forecasts sales this year of $58 million after posting sales of $50.7 million in 2009, said it has been exploring opportunities for continued growth for some time.

“This transaction benefits our shareholders by providing them with the opportunity to receive a significant premium for their YoCream shares, and joining the Danone Group represents a natural progression in our corporate achievement to provide healthful live and active cultured frozen yogurt to consumers in the U.S. and abroad,” said John Hanna, co-founder and chief executive officer of YoCream. Mr. Hanna will remain c.e.o. of YoCream, and, along with the company’s senior management team and one former board member, will retain an ownership interest of approximately 5% in YoCream following the closing.

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