M&A  January 8, 2024

Danone offloads Boulder-born Horizon Organic to private-equity firm

BROOMFIELD —  Danone, a French food and beverage umbrella company with its North American operations headquartered in Broomfield, recently inked a deal to sell its Horizon Organic dairy business to a private-equity firm. 

In addition to Horizon, founded in 1991 in Boulder, Danone will also offload its yogurt brand Wallaby to Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity.

Terms of the deal, which as announced last week, were not disclosed, and it’s unclear what, if any, impact the deal will have on the roughly 600 Danone workers in the Boulder Valley. The parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

The deal came after Danone conducted a review of its “businesses that fell outside our priority growth areas of focus,” Danone CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique said in a prepared statement.

Danone had been mulling a sale of Horizon and Wallaby for at least a year. In late January 2023, the company said that the decision to explore divestiture of its dairy businesses came as a result of a company-wide “portfolio review and asset rotation program.”

Wallaby and Horizon accounted for about 3% of Danone’s global revenues in 2022.

“Horizon Organic is an iconic name in dairy that is well recognized and beloved by consumers,” Platinum Equity co-president Louis Samson said in a prepared statement. “The brand has earned a reputation for quality and innovation that is unmatched in the industry. We appreciate Danone’s confidence in our ability to build on that legacy and support Horizon Organic’s growth as a standalone company.”

Horizon, co-founded by local natural and organic-products industry luminary Mark Retzloff, was the first certified-organic dairy with national distribution. The company was absorbed by Danone in 2018 as part of a $10.4 billion merger with its former parent company White Wave Foods. 

“Premium offerings, including organic and value-added products, are driving the growth in the dairy milk category,” Platinum Equity managing director Adam Cooper said in a statement. “Horizon Organic is a pioneer of that segment and is in position to continue capitalizing on and accelerating the trend.”

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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