DFA completes $433M acquisition, with feds’ blessing
By Brian Kaberline – Editor, Kansas City Business Journal
May 4, 2020.
Dairy Farmers of America completed a $433 million acquisition of Dean Foods properties after reaching an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Kansas City, Kan.-based dairy cooperative closed on a deal to buy 44 properties that handle fluid and frozen dairy products from Dallas-based Dean Foods. DFA won a bankruptcy auction in late March.
DFA is the nation’s largest dairy cooperative — and the largest private company in the Kansas City area. Dean had been the nation’s largest milk processor. As such, the U.S. Department of Justice reviewed the review for antitrust concerns.
On Friday, the Justice Department completed its review. It required DFA to divest of three fluid milk plants involved in the deal. The plants are in Harvard, Ill.; De Pere, Wisc.; and Franklin, Mass. The Justice Department expressed concern about DFA’s efforts to buy a number of Dean processing plants in the Upper Midwest, according to a release, and the cooperative dropped its efforts to buy the properties.
The Justice Department noted in a release that it’s antitrust review took into account the serious challenges facing the dairy industry. Both Dean and Borden Dairy Co. had filed for bankruptcy in recent months and the Covid-19 pandemic has all but killed demand for milk from schools and restaurants.
In a release, DFA stressed that the purchase will secure milk markets for its farmer members and save nearly 11,000 jobs.
DFA has more than 13,500 farmer-members. It had revenue of $13.6 billion in 2018. The cooperative has not yet released its 2019 financial results.