FRANCE -French dairy giant, Danone is selling Vega, Canada, and U.S. plant-based nutritional products brand, as part of a strategic portfolio review announced in October last year.

According to a statement from Danone, Vega will be sold to funds managed by WM Partners, a US-based private equity investment firm focused on the health and wellness industry.

WM Partners said the acquisition was made through the HPH II Investments Master Fund. Over the last two years, the HPH II fund has acquired hydration brand Ultima Replenisher, collagen business Great Lakes and “superfoods” brand FGO.

A strategic portfolio review of Danoen’s assets

Danone had said last autumn it was looking at the future of the Vega business, which the company had taken on as part of its 2016 acquisition of Alpro maker WhiteWave Foods.

“The sale of Vega is part of Danone’s continuous capital allocation optimization and of the strategic review of Danone’s portfolio of brands, SKUs, and assets announced in October 2020,” Danone said.

Vega sells plant-based shakes to customers in North America and has been part of WhiteWave since 2015 when it was acquired for around US$550m.

The Canada-based plant-based brand became part of Danone struck in the summer of 2016 when the French dairy bought US-based WhiteWave, in a deal that valued the dairy and dairy-free group at US$12.5bn.

Its sale continues Danone’s strategic portfolio review that followed former Chief Executive Emmanuel Faber’s ouster late last year.

The strategic portfolio review also resulted in a re-look at Danone’s operations in Argentina and a shake-up of its management structure.

In May, Danone finalized the sale of its near-10% stake in China Mengniu Dairy Co. The disposal led to proceeds of HKD15.4bn (US$1.98bn).

The company said the sale would “deliver portfolio optimization and improve returns to shareholders through disciplined capital allocation”.

No financial details have been disclosed about the Vega transaction. The closing of the deal will however be subjected to customary conditions.

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