Danone has announced it plans to sell part of its 21.3% stake in Japanese probiotic dairy company Yakult.
The divestiture will be carried out through a market transaction launched today by Yakult and is expected to settle in March.
The move, which Danone said is “in accordance with its continued focus on disciplined capital allocation”, will see the company reduce its stake in Yakult to 7% following the completion of the transaction.
Yakult has also announced today a JPY 36 billion ($335.8 million) share buyback programme in which Danone will participate.
Danone is expected to remain Yakult’s largest shareholder and will continue to sit on the company’s board of directors.
In a statement, Danone said: “Danone and Yakult will intensify their joint efforts to promote probiotics through the jointly created Global Probiotics Council. The parties also intend to expand the Ishoku Dogen programme which aims at deepening the understanding of the link between diet and health.
“From a commercial perspective, the partners will study the feasibility of new collaboration projects such as the distribution of Yakult’s products by Danone in European markets where the brand is not currently engaged in substantial business, with Spain as an initial test market.”
Danone, which also owns the Actimel probiotic brand, has diversified its portfolio in the past year with a focus on water: last November it took part in a $5.5 million financing round in Kona Deep and earlier this month it lead an investment in coconut water brand Harmless Harvest.
Last year, it sold its Stonyfield organic yogurt business to Lactalis for $875 million after acquiring WhiteWave Foods for $12.5 billion.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018