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Investor Group To Purchase Dean Foods Dairy Plant

17 August 2011

US - Dean Foods has found a buyer for its dairy processing and distribution facility in Waukesha after losing an antitrust lawsuit over its purchase.

The Texas-based company said Monday that a private equity firm, OpenGate Capital, has agreed to purchase the facility and related assets for an undisclosed amount.

OpenGate will also acquire the Golden Guernsey and La Vaca Bonita brands, which provide milk, cheese and other dairy products in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The plant produced roughly $100 million in sales.

The deal is expected to close by the end of September. Open-Gate said it acquires companies with well-known brands and strong business practices--noting that Golden Guernsey milk has been an icon in southeast Wisconsin since 1930 and it plans to continue that tradition.

The Waukesha facility is one of two plants Dean Foods purchased from Foremost Farms USA in 2009. But last year, the Attorneys General of Illinois and Michigan challenged the acquisition, claiming the transaction lessens the competition in the fluid and school milk markets in violation of the federal law.

At the time of the sale, Foremost officials said the sale allows the cooperative to focus on wholesale markets for cheese, butter, and dairy product ingredients. Dean also purchased the Golden Guernsey and Morning Glory brands from Foremost Farms.

As part of the 29 March settlement, Dean Foods was given 90 days to sell the Waukesha plant to a new owner.

The settlement also requires that Dean notify the department before it makes any future acquisition of milk processing plants for which the purchase price is more than three million dollars.

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