Dallas-based Dean Foods Considers Alternatives, Including Selling the Dairy Company

Dallas-based Dean Foods Co. is considering strategic alternatives that could include selling some of its brands, forming joint ventures, going private with a buyer, or an outright sale of the company.Being one of America's largest dairy companies sounds like a stable spot, but in today's environment consumers are less brand conscious in the grocery aisles and retailer are promoting their own store brands. The Dallas-based company with annual sales of about $7.7 billion owns more than 50 national, regional and local dairy brands and private labels. It's been posting losses and declining sales in the past three quarters.The stock closed Tuesday at $4.55 a share, down 5 cents.Dean Foods owns legacy brands in the dairy business such as Land O Lakes, Oak Farms, Pet and LeHigh Valley Dairy Farms, but more and more consumers are open to buying private labels in the grocery aisles if the price is lower.Even Amazon has added a private label dairy brand -- Happy Belly -- to the growing roster of brands it's created."As we seek to accelerate our business transformation and enhance shareholder value, the board has initiated a review of a range of potential strategic alternatives to best position the company for the future," said Ralph Scozzafava, Dean's chief executive officer.While the strategic review is underway, the company will be taking "vital, transformative actions to maximize the benefits of our scale and position the company for the long term," Scozzafava said. "As one of America's largest dairy providers, Dean Foods is committed to delivering significant value to all our stakeholders, including our customers, consumers, shareholders, communities and employees." Dean Foods said it didn't know how long the review process may take. It has hired Evercore Group to serve as financial adviser to assist in this review. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is acting as the company's legal adviser.Twitter @MariaHalkias  Continue reading...

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