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Danone to acquire YoCream

BY Allison Cerra

PORTLAND, Ore. — Danone will boost its yogurt business with its acquisition of YoCream International.

Danone offered to acquire YoCream for about $39.82 in cash for each share, or $103 million, YoCream said. The company said it expected the transaction to close before Dec. 28.

"This transaction benefits our shareholders by providing them with the opportunity to receive a significant premium for their YoCream shares, and joining the Danone Group represents a natural progression in our corporate achievement to provide healthful live and active cultured frozen yogurt to consumers in the United States and abroad," said John Hanna, co-founder and CEO of YoCream. "We have continued our strong track record of innovation in this category and appreciate that Danone has recognized our leadership role for frozen yogurt in the food-service industry."

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Arbitration proceeding brewing between Kraft, Starbucks

BY Allison Cerra

NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Kraft filed an arbitration proceeding against Starbucks on Monday after the java giant attempted to end an agreement with the company.

Kraft claimed that it boosted Starbucks’ retail grocery coffee business since 1998, which has garnered approximately $500 million in annual revenues. Kraft also is demanding that Starbucks compensate the company for the fair market value of the business, plus a premium of up to 35% of that value.

Kraft’s EVP corporate and legal affairs and general counsel Marc Firestone said, "Starbucks is trying to walk away from a 12-year strategic partnership, from which it has greatly benefited, without abiding by contractual conditions."

Kraft said it is continuing to conduct business under the terms of its contractual arrangements with Starbucks.

Starbucks also released a statement regarding the deal, stating "Kraft did not meet its responsibilities" under the agreement, which required Kraft actively protect and promote the Starbucks Coffee and Seattle’s Best Coffee brands and to work closely with Starbucks, to maintain Starbucks involvement in significant marketing decisions and customer contacts.

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Dr Pepper Snapple Group announces Let’s Play initiative

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas — A popular beverage maker is encouraging kids to be active by promoting fit and healthy lifestyles.

DPS’ Let’s Play community partnership includes a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit that’s ensuring there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child. Through Let’s Play, DPS and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated 5 million children across North America.

"We recognize that the key to healthy living is managing calories in and calories out.  Let’s Play is an important step in helping families achieve that balance," said Larry Young, president and CEO of DPS. "By extending our existing partnership with KaBOOM!, Let’s Play will provide the tools, places and inspiration to help communities increase physical activity."

In addition to the launch of Let’s Play, DPS has set a health-and-wellness goal that at least 50% of products in its pipeline will be improved by 2015. This includes reduced calorie products, offering options with smaller portion sizes and improving the nutrition offerings in its portfolio.

More information about how communities nationwide can join the Let’s Play initiative will be available in January 2011, DPS said.

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