DALLAS — Dean Foods Co. has announced a spin-off of The WhiteWave Foods Co. and will distribute a portion of the remaining equity interest in WhiteWave to Dean Foods stockholders.

“Following WhiteWave’s successful initial public offering last year, our board’s action today puts the spin-off of WhiteWave in motion,” said Gregg Tanner, chief executive officer of Dean Foods. “The separation of WhiteWave from Dean Foods continues to unlock significant shareholder value and puts both companies on a path for future success in their respective businesses.”

Dean Foods has authorized the distribution of 47,686,000 shares of WhiteWave Class A common stock and 67,914,000 shares of WhiteWave Class B common stock on May 23 as a pro rata dividend on shares of Dean Foods common stock outstanding on May 17. The company estimates that each share of Dean Foods common stock will receive about 0.256 shares of WhiteWave Class A stock and 0.364 shares of WhiteWave Class B. Fractional shares of WhiteWave stock will not be distributed to Dean Foods stockholders but will instead be aggregated and sold in the open market.

The spin-off will be a tax-free distribution to Dean Foods stockholders.