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WhiteWave Files to Raise Up to $320 Million in IPO

WhiteWave Foods Co., the maker of Silk soymilk, filed to raise as much as $320 million in a U.S. initial public offering as parent Dean Foods Co. tries to generate cash to pay off debt. Dean’s shares soared.

WhiteWave is offering 20 million shares at $14 to $16 each, and Dean will hold an 88 percent stake in the company, according to a regulatory filing today. WhiteWave expects to contribute as much as $282 million of the proceeds from the offering and $885 million of new borrowings to Dean, and Dean will use those funds to repay debt, the filing showed.

WhiteWave, which makes plant-based foods and beverages, coffee creamers and organic milk, is going public as Dean strives to unlock value for shareholders and raise cash to pay off debt. Demand for the WhiteWave products is growing faster than Dallas-based Dean’s main Fresh Dairy Direct fluid milk business. Dean also said last month it is considering the sale of its Morningstar unit, which makes dairy products for restaurants.

“This valuation for the WhiteWave division is higher than we expected,” Christopher Growe, a St. Louis-based analyst for Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said in a report today. “Although Dean Foods is still expected to receive roughly $300 million in proceeds from the IPO, it will retain a larger portion of the company than we expected.”

$2.6 Billion Value

At the midpoint of the offering range, WhiteWave would be valued at about $2.6 billion, the filing shows. The company may have an enterprise value of $3.5 billion, Growe estimated in the report. The IPO is scheduled to price Oct. 25, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Dean jumped 13 percent to $16.96 at the close in New York, the most since Aug. 8. The shares have increased 51 percent this year.

Dean, which will hold all of WhiteWave’s Class B shares which are entitled to 10 votes apiece, will retain more than 98 percent voting power after the IPO, according to the filing. Class A shares will have one vote apiece.

Liliana Esposito, a Dean spokeswoman, declined to comment on the IPO in an e-mail, citing a quiet period related to the offering.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and Bank of America Corp. are managing the offering. Dallas-based WhiteWave plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WWAV.

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