DENVER — The WhiteWave Foods Co. is forming a joint venture with the China Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd. As part of the agreement, WhiteWave is acquiring Yashili Zhengzhou, a subsidiary of Mengniu. Yashili’s primary asset is a manufacturing plant that will be used to process products under the joint venture.

WhiteWave will pay $85 million for Yashili and, under terms of the agreement with Mengniu, will own a 49% stake in the joint venture.

“Mengniu is the ideal partner for WhiteWave as it is a leading dairy company in China with a broad product portfolio, strong sales network and manufacturing capabilities, deep consumer expertise and a wide distribution network throughout China,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer of WhiteWave Foods. “Through the joint venture, WhiteWave will be extremely well positioned to expand its business to this important geography. Although we still have a lot of work to do before we begin distributing product, this is another compelling step for WhiteWave as we continue on our path to change the way the world eats for the better.”

The companies did not specify what types of products will be manufactured by the joint venture. WhiteWave Foods manufactures plant-based food and beverages, coffee creamers and beverages, and organic dairy products. Mengniu is a manufacturer of fluid milk, ice cream and other dairy products.