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OpenGate Capital Aquires Dean's Waukesha Plant

16 September 2011

US - OpenGate Capital has completed its acquisition of Dean Foods' Waukesha dairy processing plant, which it was ordered to sell in a recent anti-trust settlement.

The investment firm says the business is now operating as Golden Guernsey Dairy, LLC.

"OpenGate has acquired a solid platform for growth with our new dairy processing plant and its associated brands," said Andrew Nikou, OpenGate Capital founder and managing partner.

"We look forward to working with Golden Guernsey plant management to accelerate its expansion opportunities and uphold its high standards for quality and excellence in milk products."

The deal, which received regulatory approval, is OpenGate's fifth acquisition in the last 12 months.

As part of the deal OpenGate takes over 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 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 $3 million.

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