BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Friday cleared France’s Danone (DANO.PA) to proceed with its $10.4 billion (8.37 billion pound) purchase of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave, subject to it selling a business in Belgium.
Danone will sell a large part of its “growing-up milk” business in Belgium, as the Commission said only Nestle (NESN.S) would have remained as a competitor in the country otherwise.
“The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would not have faced sufficient competitive pressure from the remaining player in this market,” the Commission, which enforces competition rules in the European Union, said in a statement.
The purchase of WhiteWave, Danone’s largest acquisition since 2007, will help it pursue affluent consumers by adding WhiteWave’s popular health food offerings such as Silk almond milk and Earthbound Farm organic salad.
Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing Julia Fioretti