Mergers and Acquisitions

Dean Foods vows to fight DOJ’s antitrust suit regarding Foremost Farms acquisition

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Dean Foods on Friday, challenging the company’s April 2009 acquisition of Foremost Farms USA’s Consumer Products Division.

The acquisition included two dairy processing facilities in Waukesha and DePere.

Federal and state officials believe the acquisition eliminated competition between the two companies in the sale of milk to schools, grocery stores, convenience stores and other retailers in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Department of Justice was joined by the state attorneys general from Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin in the suit.

Dean Foods and Foremost Farms were the first- and fourth-largest milk processors in northeastern Illinois, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin, federal officials said. Dean Foods now has approximately 57 percent of the market for processed milk in northeastern Illinois, the UP and Wisconsin.

In its suit, the Department of Justice seeks to force Dean Foods to sell the assets it purchased from Foremost Farms.

Dallas-based Dean Foods said it plans to fight the antitrust suit.

“The company believes that, from the time of the acquisition almost a year ago, this transaction has benefitted Wisconsin dairy farmers by providing a stable and growing outlet for their milk,” the company said in a news release. “In addition, the transaction already has produced important cost savings that will benefit customers and spur competition in and around Wisconsin. It promises to deliver even greater customer benefits once the DePere and Waukesha plants are fully integrated into the Dean network. The company believes an objective judicial review of the facts will reveal that competition is alive and flourishing in Wisconsin.”


Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display